back to article Google cools data center with bottom of Baltic Sea

Google's new data center on the coast of Finland will be cooled entirely with sea water. The web colossus tells Swedish magazine Computer Sweden this is the first Google data center – and, to its knowledge, the only data center in the world – chilled solely with water from the sea. As Data Center Knowledge points out, this …


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  1. David 39
    Paris Hilton

    Why not

    Build the data centre in the artic. Then use this "spanner" tool, software, or persons to collect a seal club it to death and then cook use the recycled heat and then feed some hack that sits there monitoring the software/hardware/seal population if and when the data centre gets too hot, this will also help combat that mass boom in polar bear population.

    Paris will gobble down anything too

    1. Anonymous Coward

      One assumes're actually referring to that expanse of frozen water and tundra known to the educated populace as the Arctic, and not to a flatbed semi-trailer to which the term "artic" is more commonly assigned.

    2. Anton Ivanov

      Nice idea, but not really

      The cost of running fiber to the arctic is prohibitive and one of the reasons Google has distributed data centers is latency. The 2000km+ trip to the arctic circle is bound to add quite a few ms on the roundtrip.

      There are plenty of suitable locations at 2-3km altitude on mountain passes around EU. Most have suitable hydroelectric nearby. The steady wind across the pass provides perfect cooling, the temperature at 2000m+ never goes above 20C for more than half an hour and at least as far as Europe is concerned there are plenty of sites with a major fiber optic route within 30-40km to hook up to.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Not quite the Arctic

      But there's a huge data centre being built on the decommissioned Keflavik US Air Force base South West of Reykjavik with more to follow. Not only does the - erm - brisk - Icelandic climate help keep the servers cool but they can be powered by geothermal and hydro power.

      It's a damn sight more profitable for the Landsvirkjun power company than subsidising aluminium smelters and, because of Iceland's physical location - is great for balancing loads between the US and Europe. The locals like it because it means well-paid jobs and none of the pollution from the smelting process.

  2. Parsifal

    Google cools data center with bottom of Baltic Sea

    and contributes to rise on ocean temperatures in the process. :)

  3. Ian 12

    Floating data centres...

    Have already, of course, been thought of - by Google!

  4. Blain Hamon

    So wait...

    Are you telling me that Google has put a Spanner in the works?

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    There's Shoggoths down there!

    Read "A Colder War". I guess this is part of Google's secret plan to awaken Cthulu and destroy the world?

    1. Graham Marsden



      (Flames because it's the best way of getting rid of them!)

    2. Anonymous Coward

      Argh bloody Lovecraft

      It might just be because everyone I've ever met who's into that cthulu crap is an utter twunt, or it might be because I'm an iggerant, intolerant git but, oh just ARGH!

  6. Lars Silver badge

    To be more precise

    To be more precise, they did not bye a 53-year-old paper mill, they bought the building that hosed machinery for a paper mill, huge and heavy machinery.

    Absolutely perfect for a data center, strong and cool. The wind power part is "Swedish" romantic rubbish. Close to Hamina, the town, is the town Lovisa with two nuclear power plants also cooled bye sea water from the Bay of Finland. (not all that cool in the summer).

    Nothing against wind power, but basically there is no wind (or sun) when power is really needed

    in a country situated in this world like Finland is. Think off coast Canada for instance.

  7. Lars Silver badge

    As an addition to my last post

    Hot water from the nuclear reactors in Lovisa is delivered as far as to Helsinki heating and producing worm water in households in Helsinki. A good thing as it would be a real waste other wise. Also the Baltic is a very shallow sea, less than ten meters as on average.

    So "with bottom of Baltic Sea" is a bit funny as the bottom is more or less the surface of the sea.

    1. MacroRodent

      No nuclear heating in Helsinki

      "Hot water from the nuclear reactors in Lovisa is delivered as far as to Helsinki heating and producing worm water in households in Helsinki."

      Sorry, it isnt't. This idea has indeed been proposed and investigated at various times, but there is no real project to implement it yet, and my guess is it will never get done. Apart from people balking at the idea of nuclear-reactor heated homes, the pipeline would be very long (around 70km) and would lose a lot of heat en route, and a break in the pipeline or a shutdown at the power plant would leave people shivering, unless equivalent spare capacity is also available at moment's notice. (Use an electric spare heater? Oops, much of the electricity would come from the same reactors...).

      1. hplasm

        Shame- we need this here!

        I would like Worm Water on tap.

        Mmmmm. Worm Water....

      2. Lars Silver badge


        Sorry, you are quite right, no such heating.

        About St Petersburg, it was St Petersburg then Petrograd, Leningrad and now St Petersburg again.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        It's doable

        The Hellisheiði geothermal plant already pumps hot water to Reykjavik over a distance of more than 30km. They lose less than 2 Celsius en-route, so there's no reason this couldn't be done in Finland.

        They get round the risk of failure by using more than one pipe taking a different path and having huge hot water storage tanks on the hills round the city.

  8. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    @Why not

    Not many customers in the artic.

    Santa already has his own secret data centre - holding his main naughty-or-nice DB

    and polar bears don't watch much porn.

    This data centre is about 50mi from St Petersburg/Stalingrad/Leningrad (delete as appropriate) but without the political problems of having to rename it with each new president.

    1. Penti

      No Stalin

      Stalingrad is actually Volgograd.

      EU laws are probably as cumbersome as Russian law, fines instead of bribes otherwise not much different, but hey you can't escape them. And you have access to all the fiber optics you need. Which would be the case in Siberia :)

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How many Servers do you need?

    Can't they just buy a z196 from IBM and put it in a Garage?


  10. Just Thinking

    Why keep it secret?

    It isn't as if anybody else is going to nick the idea and create thousands of warehouse sized data centres across the world is it?

  11. Pandy06269
    IT Angle

    Am I the only one...

    ... who spotted this?

    "The facility will also store water in an old paper mill silo, but this water will only be used in a case of a fire. It will not be used for cooling."

    Water + electrical equipment - there's something wrong in this equation. Especially in a data-centre. Whatever happened to fire suppressants (e.g. CO2, halon gas?)

    1. Liassic

      Building burning down

      Inert gases don't really stop the building itself burning down do they?

      The fire services still need a good supply of old fashioned water to put out a building fire.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @@Why not

    Stalingrad .... thats quite a distance away. Perhaps you meant Petrograd

  13. NoneSuch Silver badge

    Thinking outside the box

    Hey Google! Why not just buy the The Principality of Sealand (, fix that up with sea water based chillers and set up your corporate HQ there.

    Best news is they would be the first corporation to actually own their own country. Their GNP would be in the top third of the globe; they would also get a seat at the UN thrown into the bargain.

  14. Matt 21

    Othe data centers

    in Belgium are cooled by outside air. The only difference with my servers is that I don't migrate processing on hot days.

  15. The Indomitable Gall

    Mummy's gone to Iceland...

    Why isn't this happening in Iceland? They got massive big hydro dams generating enough electricity to make them one of the most important aluminium smelting nations on the planet, even though electricity is a rubbish power source for aluminium smelting.

    Those dams don't just supply power, they've also got some incredibly massive heatsinks behind them that stay at extremely low temperatures for fresh water all year round thanks to a combination of altitude and latitude.

    Iceland's in the EEA, but not the EU, which is probably quite useful in terms of regulatory approval vs regulatory interference.

    It might seem a bit remote, but it's pretty well cabled up, connecting with Canada, Greenland, the Faroes, the UK, Denmark and Germany. That gives it reasonable access time to both North America and Western and Northern Europe.

    There's a lot of potential there for back-ends and backups, as well as dedicated services.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      They are

      See my posting above.

      The state-owned Landsvirkjun power company has made server farms their number one priority for future energy projects along with manufacturing solar silicon. The Icelanders have got fed up with the pollution from the smelters and that the plants energy consumption is subsidised to produce a product with a very volatile price.

      The Wellcome Foundation is going to be one of the big users of the first plant out at Keflavik.

      Quick correction - electricity is actually the best way of smelting aluminium.

  16. The Other Steve
    Black Helicopters


    Crazed billionaires, old mill, pipes into the sea ? I am waiting for the white cat!

  17. Marc 25

    Did you watch the video?

    I don't know if you watched the video or not, but the guy who voluenteers to "explain" how the sea water cooling system works, clearly didn't have a frickin clue what he was talking about..

    Cringeworthy to watch!

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