Cleantech Meets Big Data In Alquist, A New Datacenter Cooling Startup


Clean and Cool Mission, a cleantech/big data conference is currently underway in Colorado. The conference is primarily speed dating between investors and startups in each space, with panels on issues surrounding technology in general. One at the conference, Alquist has come from the UK to show potential US investors and clients how they are using big data for cleantech ends. So far, the UK government has taken notice, awarding the company a contract to cool two of its largest datacenters.

Currently, datacenters consume around 3% of global electricity production. Most of this energy isn’t used to power computers, but simply to keep them cool. Big IT has been on the forefront of this issue, working on self-contained cooling systems. At the state level, governments are working to “green” datacenters in an effort to bring costs down. Alquist is focused on this issue, and offers a datacenter temperature management system, targeted to become the new world standard.

Datacenter temperature management may seem like a niche issue, but the company claims it is a $17bn industry segment growing at 28% per year. Our own research on the segment shows varying figures, but the claim hits in the ballpark. Alquist’s monitoring system enables datacenter operators to manage risk, reduce energy spend and CO2 emissions.

The solution, called the Celsius system monitors server racks and instantly identifies potential overheating. Celsius uses big data – collected through lasers and fiber-optic monitoring cables – to create high definition heat-maps. Operators can use these to reduce their electricity costs and carbon emissions by around 20%, the company says. Based off initial savings data, the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change has awarded Alquist a $1.5m contract to install its system at two large private datacenters. Early results look promising, with system payback potentially less than a year.

The company is also presenting at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory Industry Growth Forum held today and tomorrow in Denver, Colorado. Colorado is home to a number of the largest datacenters serving US and state governments.