Interview with Max Schulze, Chairman of the Sustainable Digital Infrastructure Alliance e.V. (SDIA Alliance)
Renewable Energy Hamburg: The SDIA Alliance is involved in the EU’s “Eco Cube” project. What is this about, specifically?
Max Schulze: The EU “Eco Cube” project is a collaboration between representatives of the Turkish company Lande, who manufacture cabinets for data centres, the Swiss companies Empa and Helio, Veolia, Vattenfall Europe GmbH, and a variety of European universities. Energy-efficient integration of existing data centres into the energy system is the top priority for all those involved. Data centres use much too much unnecessary energy, as cooling systems and batteries run at the highest level, even if the data centre is operating at low capacity. That has to change as a matter of urgency and become more sustainable. We would like to see a dynamic change, i.e. a move towards greater flexibility. A total of 5 million euros will be available to us as part of “Eco Cube” over the next three years through the Horizon 2020 programme.”
Renewable Energy Hamburg: What can we expect to see from the Sustainable Digital Infrastructure Alliance (SDIA Alliance)? Why did you and your partners set it up?
Max Schulze: “My partners within the Sustainable Digital Infrastructure Alliance e.V. have all worked as successful software developers and investors in our previous lives. We would now like to give something back to society, particularly for subsequent generations. We are therefore specifically pursuing the mission of making the digital economy more sustainable. Climate change has turned me personally into a ‘transformation fanatic’. We have to do something now – in fact, we have just ten years, not much time.
The SDIA, a kind of association comprising 20 members, is financed purely from private sources, all of its board members work locally, i.e. in various European cities. Having said that, most of us work in Hamburg, where it all started; I myself currently work in Amsterdam. The major difference from conventional associations is that we do not represent the positions of our members. At the moment, the SDIA is still not self-financing.”
Renewable Energy Hamburg: How do you rate the role of Germany when it comes to renewable energies? Still a pioneer or now at the bottom of league?
Max Schulze: “We still believe that Germany is a pioneer in technologies, e.g. in the new field of hydrogen technologies. The new game we have to master is systems thinking. Only then can something change. It definitely makes sense to push ahead with new developments from Germany. We are already on the look-out for new partners in the SDIA, even here in the country where it all began.”
Many thanks for your time and stimulating interview, Mr Schulze – and we wish you every success with all your future projects!