Eemshaven drinking and service water pipeline
Water for the Internet
The Internet continues to grow rapidly and is currently used by about 4 billion people. Global Internet players are benefiting from this, but the Eemshaven region in the province of Groningen, for example, is also profiting.
The company Green Box Computing operates a data center in the north-easternmost tip of the Netherlands. The name is not immediately familiar, but if you enter it in the largest Internet search engine – and here we come full circle – the search result takes you to the official website of the Google data centers.
Plenty of electricity. And water.
The huge data centers are rightly associated first and foremost with high power consumption. Your own PC or smartphone may still be cooled by air, but this is not possible on an industrial scale. Modern data centers and server farms therefore not only have a healthy appetite for electricity, but also an immense thirst for water.
Drinking and service water supply for the Northeast Groningen region
Following the economic development of the region around Eemshaven due to the arrival of several large international companies, the construction of a service water network was started in 2011. To bring supply security into line with current needs, it is now being expanded further. The aim is to meet the demand for cooling and process water for industry located there while at the same time safeguarding the drinking water supply for the entire Northeast Groningen region.
Customized industrial water treatment
The high demand for service water is met with surface water so as to conserve water sources for drinking water supply. For this reason, an industrial water treatment plant is being built around 40 km southwest of Eemshaven, which will provide sufficient purified and treated wastewater from an existing purification plant. From there, the water will be fed into the separate service water network and distributed up to 40 km northwards. In addition to the construction of the water treatment plant, the pipe network also has to be adapted to changing needs. The new drinking and service water pipes are currently being laid in sections.
"The perfectly sequenced workflow soon made it clear why frictionless logistical services are so important for our client."Monika Langenbach, Regional Sales Manager
Frictionless logistical services
Monika Langenbach, the project manager responsible at Mannesmann Line Pipe, inspected the construction work in Eemshaven in the immediate vicinity of the Google data center in December 2019, where she was able to see for herself how the pipes were being welded, field-coated, ultrasonically inspected and trenchlessly laid. "The perfectly sequenced workflow soon made it clear why frictionless logistical services are so important for our client," explains the Sales Area Manager. "In total, we are talking about more than 200 truckloads." It is principally the large tonnage in conjunction with the just-in-time delivery of the required pipe packages that makes the project highly demanding logistically for all those involved. Mannesmann Line Pipe was awarded the contract to supply the HFI-welded steel pipes through a Dutch dealer, who in turn commissioned a processor in the Netherlands to apply the cement lining. The entire transport logistics are handled in close consultation with Mannesmann Line Pipe. The final deliveries are still pending. "Thanks to the efficient coordination of the various parties, however, everything has gone smoothly so far," Langenbach reports.
HFI-welded steel pipes with PP and HDPE coatings
The contract comprises a total of almost 40 km of HFI-welded DN 500 and 600 steel pipes in grade L245N PSL2 to ISO 3183:2012, with a PP coating for trenchless sections and an HDPE coating for open-trench laying. Laying work began in September 2019 and will continue until fall 2020. Commissioning of the new part of the network is planned for the spring of 2021. The Eemshaven data center will then continue to be reliably supplied with sufficient cooling water so that Google can continue to "keep a cool head".
The Google Eemshaven data center
The Google Eemshaven data center
The Internet is growing rapidly and with it the demand for Google services, with 3.5 billion search queries answered per day, email, Maps and Streetview plus YouTube − a Google subsidiary since October 2006.
No wonder, then, that the Internet giant is constantly increasing the number of its data centers. At the beginning of 2020, there were 19 locations spread across North and South America, Europe and Asia. One of them has been located in Eemshaven since 2016. Eemshaven was in fact the first Google data center worldwide to be powered 100 % by renewable energy sources from day one. The required power comes from the wind farms in Delfzijl and Zeeland (Krammer and Bouwdokken) and from the Sunport Delfzijl solar park. Google is now regarded as the world's largest purchaser of electricity from renewable sources.
Approximately 250 people are employed at the Eemshaven site, including IT experts, engineers, security personnel, kitchen staff and facility managers. EUR 600 million was invested until 2016, and in 2018 an expansion of the campus was announced for EUR 500 million, which was topped up again in June 2019. In addition, Google is planning another data center in Agriport, a good 200 kilometers away on the Ijsselmeer. This will increase Google's total investment in the Netherlands to EUR 2.5 billion.
Eemshaven plays an important part in the Dutch energy supply. For this is where the converter station for the 80 km long submarine cable linking the Norwegian and Dutch power grids is located. Eemshaven also functions as a base port for the storage and pre-assembly of components for offshore wind turbines. To date, 16 offshore wind farms have already been built from Eemshaven. For the 316 turbines of the Gemini, Veja Mate, Merkur and Deutsche Bucht wind farms, the port also serves as a maintenance and service base. Large companies have settled in the region. These include the shipping company Wijnne & Barends Logistics, the waste disposal company Bek & Verburg, the malt producer HollandMalt and RWE.