Amazon Web Services has started moving away from diesel power and wants to start powering its data centers with hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO), a biofuel that can be produced without fossil resources by processing renewable waste lipids.
The Register reports that Amazon Web Services (AWS), the tech giant’s cloud storage service, began transitioning away from diesel power in January 2023, following modifications made by Google in April 2022. and has started refueling the backup power plants at its data center sites in Sweden and Ireland.
According to AWS, its ultimate goal is to implement this transition at all of its European sites, and transitioning from diesel to HVO might result in “a 90% reduction” in greenhouse gas emissions.
Nevertheless, the transition has some significant drawbacks. For one thing, hydrotreating vegetable oil does require reacting the oils with hydrogen at high pressures and temperatures, thereby turning it into renewable diesel.
Despite this, AWS maintains the 90 percent statistic, indicating that it must be motivated to change. This could also be operational costs, as the e-commerce giant has emphasized that one of the reasons HVO is preferred to alternative biofuels is because it is compatible with its existing generators without change.
“By making this commitment to using sustainably sourced HVO at our data center sites, we hope to pave the way for other businesses, and help establish a global supply chain that will accelerate change across Europe, working in collaboration with other organizations,” said Neil Morris, AWS’ Director of Infrastructure Operations for Northern Europe.
The Register also emphasizes the necessity to maintain an ethical supply chain and the numerous other environmental concerns associated with the transition to sustainable biofuels, such as deforestation and an increase in food costs.