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Nation to get first commercial UDC in Sanya

By MA ZHIPING in Haikou | China Daily | Updated: 2021-12-28 09:21

An illustration of the underwater data center in Sanya, a city on the southern coast of Hainan Island. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Hainan provincial authorities reached a strategic agreement with a Beijing company on Sunday, aiming to build the world's first commercial demonstration underwater data center in Sanya, a coastal city on the southern tip of Hainan Island, according to local officials.

The project, to be built with a total investment of more than 5.6 billion yuan ($880 million), will be the world's first commercial UDC, said Wang Bin, vice-governor of Hainan, at a meeting on the development of low-carbon information infrastructure, held in Sanya on Sunday.

Wang said that accelerating the construction of new infrastructure is an important task in the development of Hainan Free Trade Port, and the provincial government will provide key support to promote new innovative marine infrastructure technologies. Hainan will make good use of its unique marine resources to cultivate a leading low-carbon green marine infrastructure industry cluster in the country.

The underwater data center will employ information technology facilities such as servers in seabed cabins, using submarine composite cables to power transmission of data back to onshore internet data stations. Cooled by seawater, the underwater data center has such advantages as power saving, land saving, water saving and low total costs, said Xu Tan, vice-president of Beijing Highlander Digital Technology Co Ltd, which is engaged in smart sea economy technologies research and development and will be in charge of the data center's construction.

As a new exploration of overall planning and usage of land and sea resources, UDCs will share maritime areas and serve each other with ecological projects such as marine pastures and fishery cages, as well as industrial projects such as offshore wind power and offshore oil platforms, according to experts.

"The demonstration project, to be located in Haitang Bay, one of the five well-known beautiful bays in northeastern Sanya, will be grown into a comprehensive marine new technology industrial park with the underwater data center as the core," Xu said.

She said the center, to be completed in three stages starting next year, will have 100 UDC cabins around Haitang Bay.

"Official test results showed that the efficiency of the cooling systems and the data transmission systems to be adopted by the Sanya UDC has reached advanced international levels," said Xu, adding that the company will continue to seek breakthroughs in developing renewable marine energy technologies to make use of sea wind and sea wave energy to ensure greener mode operations of UDC systems.

Cooperation preparations are also under way for new UDC projects in the coastal provinces and cities across China, beginning with the Yangtze River Delta and the Pearl River Delta, Beijing Highlander said.

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