Keppel to explore use of LNG, hydrogen to power floating data-centre park

The park is in its exploration phase.
The park is in its exploration phase.PHOTO: SCREENGRAB FROM KEPPELDATACENTRES.COM

SINGAPORE (THE BUSINESS TIMES) - Keppel Data Centres Holding (Keppel DC), City Gas and City-OG Gas Energy Services will jointly explore using liquefied natural gas (LNG) and hydrogen to power Keppel DC's floating data-centre park in Singapore.

The park is in its exploration phase, the three parties said on Monday (Oct 26), the same day they signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) for the collaboration.

They will jointly evaluate LNG procurement strategies and the energy transition to hydrogen in the longer term.

Also, the parties will look into harnessing cold-energy for the floating data-centre park and share expertise on steam methane reforming.

Keppel DC's chief executive officer (CEO) Wong Wai Meng said City Gas and City-OG are industry leaders in such technologies, and will provide insights that will improve the design and envisaged operations at the park for optimal energy efficiency and to reduce carbon emissions.

Keppel DC is a 70:30 joint venture between Keppel Corp's logistics and data-centre arm, Keppel Telecommunications & Transportation, and the conglomerate's property arm, Keppel Land.

City Gas, which produces and retails piped town gas in Singapore, is wholly owned by Keppel Infrastructure Trust (KIT), whose sponsor is a Keppel Corp subsidiary.

Natural-gas retailer City-OG, meanwhile, was established by City Gas and Japan's Osaka Gas.

Keppel DC and Toll Group signed an MOU this April to study the feasibility of developing the near-shore floating data-centre park at the latter's Loyang Offshore Supply Base in Singapore.

"In line with Keppel's Vision 2030, which places sustainability at the heart of its strategy, this collaboration is part of a group-wide effort to study ways to create more energy-efficient and greener data-centre solutions, so that the burgeoning needs of the digital economy can be met in a safe, reliable and environmentally friendly manner," the three parties said in a statement on Monday.

Keppel DC's Mr Wong also noted that the group is exploring the development of the floating data-centre park, LNG and hydrogen-powered data centres, as well as technologies such as carbon capture, utilisation and sequestration.

City Gas is "constantly exploring ways to further lower carbon emissions", said its CEO Perry Ong.

"We're already using natural gas in the town-gas manufacturing process with a longer-term view of using hydrogen to minimise environmental impact. We are thus eager to expand our green efforts in the data-centre sector with this MOU," Mr Ong added.

City-OG's CEO Gio Lee said that through this tie-up, the company will be able to better understand how its know-how in gas solutions and tri-generation can be applied to the growing data-centre industry.

In June, Keppel DC and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Asia Pacific inked an MOU to explore the implementation of a hydrogen-powered, tri-generation plant concept for data centres in Singapore. One project that might benefit from this concept is the floating data-centre park, the two firms said then.

As at 9.06am on Monday, Keppel Corp shares slipped two cents or 0.4 per cent to trade at $4.49, while KIT units were unchanged at 55.5 cents.