Keppel Data Centres, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Keppel Telecommunications & Transportation (Keppel T&T), has invested US$10 million (S$13.5 million) in Nautilus Data Technologies, a California-based company that created the world's first successful waterborne data centre. It is part of the US$25 million that Nautilus successfully raised in a Series C preferred stock fund raiser which saw strong participation from other investors in the US and Europe.
Nautilus employs patented water-cooling technology in pre-fabricated facilities, which are more cost-efficient and environmentally sustainable than traditional structures and can be rapidly deployed across the globe. It launched a waterborne data centre prototype in 2015, incorporating its technology on a vessel.
The US start-up is building its first commercial data centre at Mare Island Naval Shipyard in Northern California, and deployment is scheduled for early next year. "This strategic investment in Nautilus will allow Keppel Data Centres to benefit from the development of innovative and sustainable data centre technology that has great potential for broader commercial application," Mr Wong Wai Meng, chief executive of Keppel Data Centres, said.
Keppel T&T said the Nautilus design delivers multiple advantages over traditional air-cooled data centres, which typically require expensive cooling towers, water chillers, water-treatment chemicals and refrigerants to cool the ambient air in server rooms. In contrast, Nautilus' water-cooled data centres employ less complex systems that can be deployed in half the time. Nautilus data centres are sited on vessels or on land near large water bodies, and use naturally chilled water to cool the facilities, recirculating the water to its original source with virtually zero water consumption.
"Through this investment, we can also explore opportunities for collaboration and harnessing of synergies within the Keppel Group, for example, by tapping the group's capabilities and experience in the offshore and marine sector for the development of floating water-cooled data centres," Mr Wong noted.
The investment is not expected to have a material impact on the net tangible assets or earnings per share of Keppel T&T for the current financial year. Mr Johnson Chen, chief executive of CapBridge, which provides institutional and accredited investors private and exclusive access to mid- to late-stage companies, said: "We are pleased to support Nautilus in its fundraising exercise, which has garnered interest from well-established investors globally and in Singapore."
Keppel T&T shares yesterday ended 2.5 cents lower at $1.515.