back to article Datacenters feeling the heat to turn hot air into cool solutions

Datacenters generate lots of heat and myraid providers are trying to put this resource to use, but there are geographic and various practical limitations on re-purposing it. A new report by Uptime Institute highlights the current state of so-called heat reuse projects and the challenges that datacenter operators and national …

  1. Dimmer Bronze badge

    We do it

    “This adds complexity and calls for additional engineering and a sizeable upfront investment by the datacenter operator for equipment to transport the heat to users“

    Not if you are in a multi level office building. Just blow the air from the hot isle into the building’s hvac ducts.

    1. Giles C Silver badge

      Re: We do it

      I remember years ago ibm did a rack door with radiators in it which could be plumbed into a buildings hvac system. A quick search and the systems are still around but not that commonly used.

      Perhaps this needs to be more widely adopted?

    2. Killfalcon Silver badge

      Re: We do it

      My old office did this for years- the original server room heated the on-site swimming pool for many years, then it was changed to pump the waste heat into the offices heating system.

      This was so successful and reliable it was forgotten about by everyone, until we decommissioned the last on-prem stuff and everyone in one wing started complaining about the cold.

  2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    I was reading somewhere of an idea to locate data-centres near wind turbines - in fact, right inside the hollow tower. The rationale was that the grid can't cope with the turbine output at highest wind levels and gets shut down entirely. By consuming some of the power on-site the grid doesn't get overloaded. As turbines are normally well away from possible uses of waste heat it would be a case of either/or.

    1. Killfalcon Silver badge

      I thought they shut them down in high winds to protect the turbine itself?

  3. ecofeco Silver badge

    I've said it before

    They could cut power and heat if they didn't want every scrap of useless information on every person on the planet.

    But that's just crazy talk, I know.

  4. karlkarl Silver badge

    > the most unusual scheme remains that of a datacenter in Hokkaido in Japan, which is using snow to cool its IT infrastructure then taking the resultant warm meltwater to cultivate eels for sale at market.

    In the video, it just looks like a bitcoin mining operation.

    So is that really a Data Centre? Possibly there isn't much actual "Data" involved.

  5. M.V. Lipvig Silver badge

    Stirling engine

    It would be like adding a turbocharger to an engine, by pulling otherwise wasted heat energy out of the cooling plant. Use the coolant to drive a Stirling engine before it goes to the condenser. Some of the newest experimental Stirlings are generating a respectable amount of electricity, and can apparently be used to generate cold as deep as -80C. Even if it only generated 5 percent of the power the data center needs, it would be worthwhile.

    1. catprog

      Re: Stirling engine

      You need a high temp difference to make electricity efficiently.

  6. Greenbait


    Plants grow well if kept warm.

    Share the heat inside greenhouses to grow food or

    even to suck more down CO2.

    Real green compound growth to rescue!

    Who knew!

    1. tip pc Silver badge

      i was going to post much the same.

      use the waste heat to keep green houses warm, especially in winter and the products being grown will also remove co2 from the air resulting in 2 x actions for the cost of people watching cat videos on facebook.

    2. Killfalcon Silver badge

      I'd worry about controlling moisture levels. Datacenters tend to be very dry places, greenhouses very humid.

      Definitely worth looking into, mind. The heat's going spare.

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