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The world’s largest data center is being built 140 miles north of the Arctic Circle

The 600,000-sm facility will be on a secure property surrounded by a moat.

August 16, 2017 |
An aerial rendering of the Kolos data center in Ballangen

Rendering courtesy of HDR

Ballangen, Norway, located about 140 miles north of the Arctic Circle, will be home to the largest data center in the world when it completes construction in 2018. Ballangen was selected because of Norway’s abundance of green energy, cool climate, large technical workforce, and its access to international high-performance fiber in neighboring Sweden. The site’s secure, moated property was also a deciding factor in selecting Ballangen, according to Kolos, the American and Norwegian company behind the data center.

The green facility is within 25 kilometers of a huge amount of excess hydropower that will allow the data center to scale up to two gigawatts of consumable renewable power, which is more than any other data center location in the world. The use of wind energy will also help the facility achieve its goal of being powered by 100% sustainable energy.


The waterfront promenade of the Kolos data centerRendering courtesy of HDR.


The 600,000-sm, climate-cooled Kolos facility will be powered by hydropower and will scale beyond 1,000 megawatts of computing power. High-speed traffic to continental Europe and as far off as the United States’ east coast will be routed from the Kolos node through the Swedish high-performance fiber.

HDR designed the four-story data center along a central spine with the building forms arranged to mimic a glacier’s movement as it displaces swaths of land. At the base of the spine are modules, or data halls, that are secure, scalable, and connected. At the terminus on the water, the spine becomes a public space clad in copper and acts as the gateway to the public waterfront promenade. HDR says the alluvial fans, glaciers, and mountains that surround the site inspired the design of the overall data center.

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