European data center provider AQ Compute is selling off unwanted air-conditioning systems for a nearly complete Norwegian data center that has changed to liquid cooling. AQ also plans to hire plumbers for the site.

AQ-OSL-1 AQ in Hønefoss, near Oslo, has switched to liquid cooling to meet the high-density demands of high-performance computing and AI. All racks in the facility will have rear-door cooling attached to a water circulation loop under the floor. Any other cooling requirements can be delivered by free cooling using the outside air.

AQ-Compute-AQ-OSL1 (2)
– AQ Compute

“We started with both air-to-air and direct cooling,” AQ’s Norway CEO Andreas Myr told DCD. “But since we now focus on high density, we have taken out the HVAC units. We have a new data center, with no legacy, so we had the possibility to build what the customer needed.”

The unwanted air-conditioning units are now for sale, said Myr: “We are trying back what we paid for them.”

The facility was announced in 2020, and originally due to come online in 2021, but was delayed.

The anchor tenant, an HPC customer, will arrive in December. The site will start to go live in January and ramp up to 6MW by April, Myr told us. Power will come from local hydroelectric dams, including one only 800m from the site. Subsequent data halls will be let out in 500kW chunks.

Myr expects to add other liquid cooling options including direct-to-chip systems. All will be connected to the same water circuit, which will connect externally to a district heating system that warms offices on the Hønefoss site.

AQ Compute hires plumbers

With the installation of a liquid circulation system, Myr is looking to hire a new kind of data center engineer, he told DCD. Alongside mechanical engineers and electricians, the company will be hiring plumbers.

Myr estimated that plumbers could eventually add around ten percent to the staff levels at the data center.

“We are contacting local schools, in Oslo and Barcelona to look into apprenticeships for both electricians, plumbers, and mechanical engineers. We are putting together a program to do this now.”

Launched in 2020, AQ Compute is a subsidiary of Aquila Capital, a German investment group that specializes in renewable energy. AQ is also building a data center in Barcelona. This year, it appointed two CEOs, with Myr handling Norway, and Henry Daunert managing the overall company

Read a full interview with Andreas Myr in issue 50 of our magazine, due out latte this month. Subscribe for free today.