Amazon to switch backup Irish data centre generators to biodiesel

Cloud giant plans to roll-out the changes across its European operations

Amazon Web Services (AWS) says it has started to transition backup electricity generators at its existing Irish data centres from diesel to biofuel, a change that it plans to roll out across its European operations.

The cloud platform currently operates more than 10 data centres in the Dublin area with plans to expand its footprint there and add other facilities in Co Louth and Co Meath.

On Saturday, the tech giant said that it has started the transition from diesel to hydro-treated vegetable oil (HVO) for its emergency generators at some of these facilities, partnering with fuel supplier Certa Ireland. The cloud company said it will roll these changes out across Europe, starting in Ireland and Sweden.

“We’re excited to be working with AWS to help drive their renewable energy transition through the supply of our HVO,” Andrew Graham, managing director at Laois-based Certa, said.


Mr Graham said, as a straight drop-in replacement for conventional diesel, HVO bio fuel provides up to 90 per cent reduction in carbon emissions instantly with no generator retrofitting required.

“Transitioning to HVO is just one of the many ways we’re improving the sustainability of our data centres, decarbonising our operations, and working towards Amazon’s company-wide goal to meet net-zero carbon by 2040, 10 years in advance of the Paris Agreement,” said Neil Morris, director of infrastructure operations for AWS in northern Europe.

“By making this commitment to using sustainably-sourced HVO at our data centre sites, we hope to pave the way for other businesses, and help establish a global supply chain that will accelerate change across Europe working in collaboration with other organisations.”

Backup generators are used in emergency circumstances when data centres cannot connect to the national grid.

AWS has also submitted a planning application for three new data centres at its campus in Mulhuddart, Dublin 15, which would bring to six the number of centres at the 65-acre site. Last month, Fingal County Council planners said they were not satisfied that the company’s plans accord with revised Government policy on such facilities.

In 2022, the Government proposed a set of tighter regulations for new developments as the State works to halve its greenhouse gas emissions by the end of the decade. Local planners have asked AWS for specific information on its Irish operations and how it plans to achieve its ambition to decarbonise and provide net-zero data services.

Ian Curran

Ian Curran

Ian Curran is a Business reporter with The Irish Times