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Copper: The Critical Mineral Powering Data Centers

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The following content is sponsored by Copper Development Association

Copper: The Critical Mineral Powering Data Centers

Data centers are computer server hubs that collect, store, and process large amounts of data, requiring extensive network infrastructure and electric power supply.

As the North American data center market grows, copper will be a key building block in this infrastructure.

This infographic from the Copper Development Association illustrates the critical role of copper in data center development.

Copper in Technology

Much has been said about the growing demand for critical minerals like copper, nickel, and lithium for clean technologies such as batteries, EVs, solar, and wind power.

Copper, however, has a more extensive role in technology as it is used in wires that connect power grids and data centers around the planet.

As one of the best conductors of electricity, copper maximizes efficiency in the transmission and distribution of electricity. Its thermal conductivity also helps build efficient heat exchangers, which are vital for cooling in data centers.

The inherent ductility and malleability of copper make it ideal for shaping into compact system components, like electrical connectors. In addition, copper can be fully recycled without losing any beneficial properties, providing an excellent solution in a growing green economy.

Data centers use copper across various electrical applications, including:

  • Power cables
  • Busbars
  • Electrical connectors
  • Heat exchangers and sinks
  • Power distribution strips

To put the demand into perspective, Microsoft’s $500 million data center in Chicago required 2,177 tonnes of copper for construction.

North America’s Growing Need for Copper

With the rise of cloud computing and the Internet of Things (IoT), the North American data center market is expanding.

North American data center infrastructure is expected to grow from a $33 billion business in 2020 to $70 billion in 2030 and $185 billion in 2040.

This, in turn, will amplify the demand for copper. Copper consumption for data centers is estimated to jump from 197,000 tonnes in 2020 to 238,000 tonnes in 2030 and 293,000 tonnes in 2040.

The Copper Development Association (CDA) brings the value of copper and its alloys to society to address the challenges of today and tomorrow.

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Visit CDA to learn more.

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