Recovering heat from data centres


Is heat recovery from a data centre a solution for the future? In France as in the rest of Europe, the number of data centres is increasing year on year. These centres currently produce a lot of waste heat, so this is definitely a source worthy of greater exploration for heating networks. How can we recover heat from a data centre? How effective is this system? Is it possible in our country? DHC News, your heating networks specialist magazine says it all!

Data centres, producers of waste heat 

Data centres, those gigantic sites that group together equipment belonging to business information systems and individuals (mainframes, servers, storage arrays, networks and telecommunications equipment …) produce what is called heat fatal. We mentioned there is little: the fatal heat energy is a result of a production site whose primary purpose is not, in principle, to produce heat. An energy that is so lost in the effluent, they gaseous or liquid, if nothing is done. There would be an opportunity to recover heat from the data center.

A 2.0 resource

Fortunately, engineers have studied the case of datacenter and their heat emissions. Better, they identified them as real resources 2.0!

The potential is impressive in any case. The data center require a huge amount of energy for their operation. A data center consumes 10 000 m2 indeed much electricity as a town of 50,000 inhabitants and wastes a lot of energy: half of the energy needed to the site is indeed … to cool!

The data center are equipped with refrigeration units, which discharge into the air heat. This is where the heat networks can “serve”: heat exchangers (click here to know more about heat exchangers) can now help the recovery of heat from the data center

It remains, however, to resolve a compatibility problem: the recovery of heat from the data center helps provide water heated to around 50 ° C; gold, most existing heating systems operate at temperatures above 80 ° C, pulsed water temperature in the water table! The solution she will go through the development of low temperature heat networks?

Helsinki, Marne-la-Vallée, Aubervilliers: three examples of heat recovery data centres

This technique has in any case already been tested all over Europe. In Helsinki, a data center + 2 MW heat the equivalent of 1,000 apartments. Built by Academica in Suvilahti neighborhood, this data center is cooled from the urban network. The heat generated by the computer is routed to the same network using heat pumps. The perfect example of a fully integrated enhancement to an existing structure and functional!

In France, on the site Val d’Europe in Marne-la-Vallée (Paris region), which includes more than 1700 companies operating in the business park, the heat recovered datacenter feeds a heating network. It is the operator of the data center that handles heat recovery at its cooling units and the book to the heat network operator on the property line, Dalkia.

More modestly, in Aubervilliers, a part of the heat after a data center is used to heat a greenhouse. Another way of thinking about recovery fatal heat … which remains effective!

Is the heat recovery from datacenter economically viable? The valuation of the fatal heat from the data center, you believe it? This solution will it seem credible in the long term? Have your say in the comments, and subscribe to our newsletter and never miss the latest developments in heating networks.

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