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Abandoned cold war ‘pyramid’ finds new purpose in crypto | fDi Intelligence – Your source for foreign direct investment information

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A landmark of U.S. military defense history in North Dakota, the Stanley R. Mikkelsen Safeguard Complex has been empty for decades and is about to breathe new life into it.

In June, Norwegian-based data center developer Bitzero selected a data center site for its headquarters and North American operations. The company plans to invest a total of $500 million in North Dakota.

Bitzero claims to operate its data centers in line with its Zero Carbon Displacement (ZCD) energy strategy, using renewable energy sources to offset the carbon footprint of its data centers.

Additionally, Bitzero plans to use the waste heat obtained from its data center servers to heat its on-site greenhouses.

“Crypto-related investments will add long-term infrastructure development to the local economy,” says North Dakota Department of Commerce fDi.

Crypto-related investments add long-term infrastructure development to local economies

North Dakota Department of Commerce

From military installations to data centers

The Missile Sight Radar and surrounding buildings, known as the “Pyramid”, were built in Nekoma, North Dakota, during the Cold War to protect nearby air force bases from potential attacks from Soviet missiles.

However, after being fully operational in 1975, the facility was closed in 1976 and has been abandoned ever since.

This complex fits the purpose of Bitzero’s data center. “Originally a data processing facility, the system was the largest processor in the world at the time,” said the Cavalier County Job Development Authority (CCJDA). fDi.

46 years later, Bitzero took over the site and developed it into a 200 megawatt data center for high performance computing and data processing. The company hopes to build a data center within his three years to become a hub for the assembly and distribution of graphene battery technology. From 35 to 50 he expects to employ when the center is operational.

This “peace monument” reappears “as a beacon of change in the greatest challenge facing us today: climate change.” said in a statement.

North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum expect North Dakota will be a key location for data- and crypto-related projects fueled by clean energy and affordable electricity. “The state is working with energy companies to strategically locate data centers near existing energy infrastructure to maximize the assets they already have in place,” said a spokesperson. . fDi.

Zero carbon strategy

Operating a data center requires the use of a large number of computer servers in a high quality environment with constant temperature and humidity.

Data centers can consume up to 100, and in some cases 200 times more electricity than a typical office space, according to energy transition network Celsius EU. analysis. a Research published in Joule reported in 2019 that annual carbon emissions from cryptocurrency mining ranged from 22 to 22.9 tons of CO2, comparable to emissions levels in countries such as Jordan and Sri Lanka.

However, the company Claim Bitzero Chief Operating Officer Naeem Walji said Bitzero is “the first data center company to replace a zero-carbon and ESG-focused ecosystem.” Bitzero says it takes an “ESG-only” approach by running its data centers on renewable resources, without using fossil fuel backups for its operations.

Heat recycling in the data center industry is nothing new. The industry is looking to capitalize on energy consumption. Heat recycling projects enable large data centers to provide large amounts of thermal energy to communities. Facebook expects its data system to heat her 6,900 homes in Denmark, and Amazon uses waste heat from its data centers to heat local buildings in Ireland.

Shamji said as part of the company’s ZCD strategy, it will use waste heat from its data center servers to heat its on-site greenhouses in North Dakota.

This article was first published in print in October/November 2022. fDi Intelligence. Click here for the digital version of the magazine.

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