The situational analysis report introduces the state of the art for the circular economy in the Data Centre Industry (DCI). The report provides for the first time extended characterisation results of DC including the material composition of network equipment (specifically servers and switches). Based on these results a screening Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is conducted highlighting the environmental performance to provide recommendations for ecodesign.
First, the state of the art presents the current practices, trends and challenges in the DCI to achieve higher circularity. Besides, servers and switches were dismantled and chemically characterised (including Printed Circuit Boards (PCB)). A screening LCA including all the life cycle stages except the use phase is carried out to identify the environmental hotspots. Moreover, an economic assessment on a full dismantling business case is conducted to assess the feasibility of the introduction of a new stakeholder in charge of fully dismantling and distributing the waste streams to achieve higher material recoveries.
This document illustrates the urgent need to achieve higher material resource efficiency in DCI to ensure a secure supply chain of materials, especially CRMs. PCBs have been identified as the environmental hotspots with the highest CRM content in DC equipment and the ones with the highest economic and environmental benefits inthe circular economy context.
Click here to download the Situational Analysis Document.
The CEDaCI project partner, Free ICT Europe (FIE) presents this training to disseminate our key results to the Public Authorities. This 30-minute pre-recorded session aims to guide local, regional and national public authoritieson how to benefit from our research in shaping future policies.
Please register for free to access the training material.
The CEDaCI project has been running since October 2018 and the project delivery ended on July 31, 2023. We summarised our key achievements in a short, easy-to-digest and comprehensive document to disseminate our key achievements.
Read our key facts to learn more about the CEDaCI Project.
CEDaCI project Pilot A, led by London South Bank University (LSBU) in the UK, focuses on the Design & Manufacture of data centre equipment. The research team assessed the design, material content and manufacturing techniques of the existing equipment to identify key design areas for circularity and sustainability improvements. Those findings also help UK Partners to collaborate with policy advisors on the extended version of the Eco-design guidelines for server design. For more information on the research findings, please read our Eco-design fact sheet.
As part of CEDaCI project Pilot B, TechBuyer - data centre equipment refurbishment specialist, focuses on the product-life extension of hardware. To successfully implement circular business models, the research identified refurbishment, re-manufacture, and reuse as crucial solution to increase resource efficiency and gain time to develop recycling practices in the sector. For more information on the research findings, please read our Product-life extension fact sheet
CEDaCI project Pilot C- Recycling, led by TND and WeLOOP, enables the transformation of wastes into secondary resources. As a result, those materials can be reintegrated into the value chain, avoiding raw material production and reducing the environmental impacts of data centres. In order to learn more, please read our Recycling fact sheet.
Taking social responsibility along the supply chain will no longer be limited to a few pioneering enterprises, but become a regular business activity across industries. The upcoming European directive on Corporate sustainability due diligence will foster sustainable business practices that respect human rights inside and outside Europe. Circularity strategies of data servers can play an important role in reducing the social harm done in primary production and current informal recycling.
CEDaCI is bringing together the Data Centre Industry representatives which normally do not converse. Data Centre Industry Representatives gather together in CEDaCI Working Group Meetings and Co-Creation Workshops to help us develop the circularity solutions in line with the needs of the industry.
However, our sessions are limited to a certain number of representatives in each CEDaCI Country. Therefore, we will develop a series of surveys to collect the views of the industry on specific topics.
CEDaCI Refurbishment Survey
CEDaCI refurbishment survey is seeking to receive the inputs from companies using the IT hardware and understand the reasons for upgrading. This survey aims to learn your challenges, how often you upgrade and why, and whether you use refurbished equipment. Click here for the survey.
First survey targeting the PCB (Printed Circuit Board) manufacturers
Our first survey targets the PCB (Printed Circuit Board) manufacturers. The survey assesses how they address the failing PCBs during the testing and quality controls and the circularity solutions used to tackle this problem. Click here to access the survey.
Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM) Survey
This survey tackles the current Circular Economy practices of the Original Equipment Manufacturers from design, remanufacturing , recycling and reuse perspectives. Click here to access the survey.
Circular Economy for the Data Center Industry (CEDaCI) aims to enable trans-sectoral and trans-national learning and develop circular economy solutions for the Data Centre Industry in France, Germany, the Netherlands and the UK by:
-Building a co-creation platform for sharing knowledge and expertise
-Building a trans-national / trans-sectoral network
-Establishing regional and transnational Working Groups
-Utilising co-creation methodologies in 8 co-creation workshops
-Jointly defining concrete circularity solutions to address the project pilot studies
-Receive innovative insights towards circularity solutions
-Share ideas within a multi-professional network, e.g. designers, manufacturers, business actors related to refurbishing, remanufacturing, and recycling, DCI operators & users, public authorities, scientists from several disciplines, policy and communication experts
-Test, develop and use a circular business model
-Enlarge your national and European business network
If you are interested in becoming a member of the multi-professional network, please apply by 30th September 2020 (3rd call). Click here to access the survey.
Five co-creation workshops have been organized since April 2022 These workshops encouraged active participation and collaboration among stakeholders, considering specifically the SME perspectives. In preparation for the workshops, a questionnaire was developed, focusing on core questions to gather feedback and insights from the participants. The questionnaire helped in identifying key areas for discussion during the co-creation sessions. Additionally, co-creation was integrated into the "Circular Data Centre Compass (CDCC) SME Training" sessions to gather additional feedback to interim results of the project. In total, 21 participants took part in the transnational workshops, and 51 took part in the CDCC SME Training Sessions.
Read our summary document.
A virtual CEDaCI Transnational Working Group was held on 17th May 2022, involving London South Bank University and CEDaCI Partners Wuppertal Institute, TechBuyer and the Free ICT Group.
A Co-Creation Workshop was also held on 5th October 2022, involving several partners.
CEDaCI Working Group Activities continue through online platforms. French, UK and the Dutch Working Groups will convene to present the developments of their Pilot Activities as well as the latest version of the Circular Data Centre Compass (previously called the Decision-Making Tool).
In order to join CEDaCI Working Group Activities, we kindly ask our participants to fill out the CEDaCI Network Survey. The survey enables us to match you with the right working group and set of activities.
Co-Creation is a set of methods that allow a group to identify and map the current practices and to pitch ideas on product and service innovations. CEDaCI Co-creation workshops enable trans-sectoral learning to advance design, manufacturing, refurbishment, recycling and CRM reclamation processes and build the sectoral network. Co-creation workshops allow CEDaCI to develop its various deliverables through this open innovation process. These workshops serve as a tool to combine the competencies of CEDaCI Team and the end users, which are the representatives of the Data Centre Industry.
So far CEDaCI Team organised co-creation workshops in France, the Netherlands and the UK. Here we present the key findings from the workshops in the Netherlands and the UK.
The participants introduced themselves and their organisations. The sizes of their organisations were determined according to the SME definition of the European Commission.
Co-CreationWorkshops led by the Wuppertal Institute is designed in two parts. Participants were asked to assess the current role of circular economy in the DCI and the participants were asked to provide information on the current CE practices of their organisations.
Circular economy lays at the heart of the activities for the organisations focusing on the second-use of IT equipment as well as the recyclers.
Circular Economy is the core purpose for refurbishers and recyclers.
According to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, the design is the critical step to reach the circular economy as the overall aim is to design out waste and pollution. However, the DCI representatives involved in the design of the Data Centre Equipment highlighted the low relevance of the CE to their current activities. Despite the current situation, they believe that this will change in the future with the shift in the industry along with the regulatory requirements.
Originally named as the Decision -Making Tool, Circular Data Centre Compass is currently being designed and developed by CEDaCI Team to guide the Data Centre Industry to implement circularity solutions on their day to day activities. The potential key features of the tool are assessed through three perspectives: design, remanufacturing and recycling in the UK and through two groups of experts in the Netherlands: design/supply and refurbishment & recycling.
The assessment sessions gave similar results in two CEDaCI Countries and the recommendation of the users are being taken into account during the design and development process of the Circular Data Centre Compass.
Co-Creation is a set of methods that allow a group to identify and map the current practices and to pitch ideas on product and service innovations. CEDaCI Co-creation workshops will enable trans-sectoral learning to advance design, manufacturing, refurbishment, recycling and CRM reclamation processes and build the sectoral network.
Those who filled out the CEDaCI Network Application Survey are invited to attend CEDaCI Working Group Meetings and Co-Creation Workshops in their respective countries. Click here to access the survey. Each Working Group Meeting presents a a key topic and a selection of Life Cycle (LC) stages. Working Groups are composed of 15 members with a specific interest in circular economy and involved in the data centre industry.
The Data Centre Industry has grown rapidly and generates a large volume of WEEE. The current infrastructure for dealing with this waste is underdeveloped and consequently, there is a real and urgent need to address this now. CEDaCI is bringing together stakeholders from all equipment life cycle stages to turn this waste into a valuable resource and support the ongoing rapid growth of the DCI.
Our project partners Techbuyer and Green IT Amsterdam (GITA) prepared three comprehensive documents to tackle the product life extension topic: