Dakota Carrier Network, a statewide North Dakota network owned by 14 rural broadband providers, is providing connectivity to some unusual data centers operated by Crusoe Energy Systems. The data centers, located in rural areas of the state, operate on natural gas that normally would go to waste.
That type of natural gas is a byproduct of various industrial activities and is often burned in a process called “flaring” that creates environmental concerns. Crusoe specializes in what the company calls “flare mitigation” –eliminating the need to burn off the natural gas and instead repurposing it.
Dakota Carrier Network “established connectivity to extend a combination of fiber and wireless network solutions across Crusoe’s Digital Flare Mitigation portfolio,” according to a press release.
The word “portfolio” apparently refers to Crusoe’s data centers, which according to the Crusoe website, provide high-powered computing via “modular, mobile, gas-powered data centers [deployed] directly in the oilfield.” The wording seems to imply that the natural gas that would otherwise be flared is a byproduct of the oilfields.
“What Crusoe is doing is good for everyone,” said DCN chief Seth Arndorfer in the press release about the Dakota Carrier Network Crusoe deal. “They are capturing flare gas and using it to power technology rather than letting it become a wasted byproduct and that success is allowing them to invest in North Dakota, providing good jobs and supporting local organizations.”
Crusoe Energy Systems isn’t the only company that has seen demand for data centers in remote rural locations. Another company with a strong focus in that market – minus the flare mitigation aspect — is DartPoints, whose customers include content providers that want to move content closer to end users to improve the user experience.
Some companies that use data center services consider North Dakota to be a good location to house data because it isn’t considered a terrorist target, its cool temperatures minimize the need for cooling, and it doesn’t experience earthquakes or hurricanes.