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Kickstarting a Circular Economy for the Data Centre industry

Prof. Deborah Andrews with her talk Kickstarting a circular economy for the data centre industry for Green Tech South West

Green Tech South West presents an online event with the amazing Professor Deborah Andrews, founder and academic lead at CEDaCI. CEDaCI is funded by Interreg North West Europe, and is generating ground breaking research developing a Circular Economy for the Data Centre Industry.

Kickstarting a circular economy for the Data Centre industry

Transition from a linear to a circular economy is a HUGE challenge, especially with regard to electrical and electronic equipment. The data centre industry is heavily reliant on such equipment but attention to sustainability typically focusses on energy efficiency and carbon reduction.

The CEDaCI (Circular Economy for the Data Centre Industry) project was established to raise awareness about the (un)sustainability of current DCI business practices, and to demonstrate the potential for change and improving material resource efficiency.

CEDaCI brings together stakeholders from across the sector (designers, manufacturers, operators, refurbishers, recyclers) to output:

  • 2 products/processes/technologies developed & tested in real-life conditions;
  • eco-design/design guidelines to accelerate manufacture of circular economy-fit products;
  • a decision-making tool for all data center sub-sectors to optimise CE business models;
  • improved refurbishment, recycling and reclamation strategies for WEEE (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) and CRM (Critical Raw Materials).

The delivery team consists of eight partners: Aliter Networks, Dialasheep, Greem IT Amsterdam, London South Bank University (LSBU, where Deborah is based), Operational Intelligence, Sims Recycling Solutions, WeLoop and Wuppertal Institute.

This talk describes the overall project journey, achievements to date along with resources available for use already and challenges ahead.

About Deborah

Deborah has 20+ years of experience in sustainable design and manufacture and the Circular Economy and is proud to be a Chartered Environmentalist.

She is engaged in related research, enterprise and teaching activities and have worked with the data centre industry since 2010, which includes supervising an EPSRC-funded PhD about the Life Cycle Assessment of Data Centres.

Outside work she enjoys walking, gardening, visiting exhibitions, contemporary dance and music performances and theatre. She is also a regular at the WOMAD world music festival at Charlton Park near Swindon.

You can read our short interview with Deborah ahead of her talk.

Watch the event video

Timings in the video

👋 06.50 – Event starts with a welcome from your meet-up organisers, Ellen, Hannah and Mike

📢 12:10 – Our famous 60 second intros – a chance for attendees to introduce themselves, ask for help and tell us about something the group might find interesting

💚 22:42 – Deborah’s talk

❓ 55:46 – Questions

🗓️ 01:05:58 – Round up, other community notices and next event announcement

Prof. Deborah Andrews with her talk Kickstarting a circular economy for the data centre industry for Green Tech South West
Prof. Deborah Andrews with her talk Kickstarting a circular economy for the data centre industry for Green Tech South West

Deborah’s slides

Browse Deborah’s slides below


Or download the slides.

Resources and links

One of the perks of holding events online, and having such a wonderful and engaging community, is we share a huge amount of useful resources and information throughout the event. Here’s a summary of what we unearthed.

Links and resources

Community 60 second intros

An opportunity for you, our community, to (very quickly) share something with the rest of us. This can be anything from a green tech project or initiative you are working on, a request for help or guidance or even some knowledge/resource you’d like to share with others

Nick Lewis – Past Green Tech South West speaker and Lead Developer at Leap, a full service creative agency based predominantly in Cornwall. In honour of B Corp month, they’re trying to help as many businesses as possible kick-off their low carbon digital journey by offering a promotion on their digital carbon audits of websites. Please get in touch with Nick via his Calendly if this sounds like something you might be interested in!

Laurent Perge – Part of the SET Squared Sustainable Business Support programme, who offer government funded business support to any small and medium organisations in the South West of England. Most importantly, they provide access to the academics within the SET Squared partnerships (including Bristol, Cardiff, Southampton, Exeter and Surrey University) to create collaborative R&D.

Their programme is free to any organisation, so if you’re interested in joining get in touch with Laurent and he can help you start conversations with academics and help you unlock growth.

Rich Hill – Founder and CEO of Green Cloud Computing, a start-up which uses computers powered exclusively by renewable energy. They have developed a processing platform to handle computational tasks which can all be triggered, scheduled and accessed via the web. They’re a young start-up who have received funding from Innovate UK, and soon they’ll be launching their website which will allow you join and do some very green processing. If interested to learn more, please get in touch with Rich via this link.


It’s estimated that data centres consume what % of the world’s electricity? poll

Correct answer: 3%. More info here.

Global IT data centre spending is expected to reach how much by the end of the year? Poll for Green Tech South West

Correct answer: $222 billion. More info here.

Correct answer: Sweden. More info here.

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