UTCEIResearchSustainable Datacenters

Sustainable Datacenters

Your entrance to a network of all players in the energy transition

The demand for datacenter services has grown every year and is expected to grow significantly in the coming years. This increased use is, amongst other uses, driven by the growth of AI solutions, Smart Industry developments, introduction of 5G technology, intensified working from home, online shopping and streaming services.

The energy usage of datacenters has grown along with the increased demand, although industry developments have largely offset this growth. Due to the technologies currently used, most of the electricity used in datacenters is converted to heat. Most of these technologies are reaching the limits of their efficiency improvement potential. The energy demand of datacenters is expected to grow significantly in the coming years, in line with increased demand.

Reducing energy consumption

The Sustainable Datacenters programme focuses on reducing the energy consumption of datacenters and integrating renewable energy sources. With our top researchers in the field of new materials, AI solutions and stochastic operations, photonics and neuromorphic computing, this programme strives to reduce the energy need of data management, with the ultimate goal of realizing energy-neutral datacenters. We want to achieve this by both improving current technologies to reduce the energy demand of datacenters, using heat regeneration technologies and AI solutions to optimize energy consumption, and by looking at new technologies for data processing which simultaneously optimize for meeting service and quality demands while reducing energy consumption. 

Pilot plant 

The solutions we develop need to be tested in a real-world setting before they can be implemented. Therefore, together with our network of spinoff companies and industrial partners, we are working on building a pilot plant on the campus of the University of Twente where the latest developments in research can be tested and refined, bringing them to proven application level.


Introduction of the Sustainable Datacenters programme of the Centre for Energy Innovation in a short movie:

Programme coordinator

Are you interested in working with us? Contact the programme coordinator for more information.

Timeline and structure

1-3 years
5 years
10 years & beyond
  • In 2024, a fully functional, operational, state-of-the-art datacenter pilot plant will be up and running on the campus of the University of Twente. The plant will have a modular setup, so that functionalities/modules can easily be plugged in or out, making it easy to test new components and prototypes.
  • Have thermo-electric and thermochemical materials solutions to capture, reuse, or upgrade the heat that is produced with the current technologies
  • AI to optimize data center network usage and internal system usage, covering also the energy network around the datacenter
  • Potentially already photonics based components.
  • Towards heat generation elimination
  • Integrated Photonic/Quantum Technologies
  • Cognitive/Neuromorphic IC design

Involved researchers

LEAP Initiative

The low-energy datacenter programme is part of the LEAP (Lower Energy Acceleration Program) Initiative of the Amsterdam Economic Board.