China Dives into the Future Unveiling the World's First Underwater Commercial Data Center


Source: China Daily

In an unprecedented feat of technological innovation, China has boldly embarked on a groundbreaking venture that could redefine the future of data centers globally. The nation has taken a giant leap forward by initiating the assembly of an underwater commercial data center off the coast of Sanya, situated on Hainan Island, as reported by China Daily.

In an era marked by an exponential surge in internet and artificial intelligence-generated data, the demand for colossal data centers has become more pressing than ever before. Traditionally, these behemoth facilities have been land-based and notorious for their energy-intensive operations. However, China is now spearheading a paradigm shift by exploring the potential of underwater data centers as a sustainable alternative.

This ambitious project is the result of a collaboration between China Offshore Oil Engineering Co. (COOEC) and Highlander, a dynamic private data center company. By pooling resources and expertise from both the public and private sectors, this partnership aims to turn the ambitious concept of an underwater data center into a tangible reality.

Reports indicate that the modules within this pioneering data center possess extraordinary processing power, enabling them to handle millions of high-definition images in a matter of seconds. Each of these high-tech modules weighs a staggering 1,300 tons and is strategically submerged to a depth of 35 meters, harnessing the natural benefits of the underwater environment.

As the project sets its sights on installing a total of 100 modules, the facility is poised to match the computing power equivalent to six million personal computers. The underwater setting not only facilitates impressive processing capabilities but also serves as a natural cooling mechanism for the hardware, resulting in substantial savings in electricity and fresh water consumption. Simultaneously, this innovative approach also addresses the perennial challenge of land scarcity for conventional data centers.

However, as this venture navigates uncharted waters, concerns have naturally emerged regarding the long-term viability and environmental impact of such installations. The reported 25-year lifespan of these submerged modules holds promise, but the specter of seawater corrosion and potential repercussions on marine ecosystems looms large.

While Highlander's previous experience is limited to a 2021 test in Zhuhai, and Microsoft's experiments with underwater data centers have not progressed beyond initial stages, the world is closely watching China's ambitious foray into underwater data centers. As the project unfolds, it has the potential not only to revolutionize the data center landscape but also to set a precedent for sustainable and innovative solutions in the ever-evolving tech industry. Only time will reveal the depths of success and challenges that await in this unexplored frontier of underwater data centers.

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