11 Oct 2021

Heat recovery from data centers in Brunswick

In 2010, data centres world-wide used about 350 TWh of electricity. It is just over 1% of the world’s total electricity use and it is constantly growing. Most of the power consumed by the Information Technology (IT) equipment is converted into waste heat, which must be removed to avoid damage to the equipment. The energy requirement of the cooling system represents up to 40% of the overall data centre energy consumption. The ReUseHeat project worked in Brunswick on the use of datacentre's excess heat in the district heating network.

The Brunswick demonstration site is run by Veolia’s subsidiary BS|ENERGY, which is a local energy provider for electricity, heat, gas and water in Brunswick. It operates an existing district heating grid that provides 45% of the city, powered by high-efficiency cogeneration plants.

The district heating network will be expanded to a residential area with approx. 400 housing units. Just next to this residential area, a data centre is currently built. A data centre has an extensive cooling demand, which in return produces excess heat.

The newly built energy efficient housing area will enable the deployment of a low temperature 4th generation district heating network. The peak heat demand and the base load will be fully covered by the waste heat potential of the data centre. A connection to the existing high temperature district heating network of BS|ENERGY will also be provided, enabling flexibility in the system and demand peak shaving.

A data centre requires constant cooling to maintain a moderate climate in the computer room. This excess heat produced during the cooling process can be discharged to the ambient air through so-called free cooling. Then, a heat exchanger cools the inner air by transferring the heat to an outside air flow of lower temperature.

Due to the low temperature of the heat source, a heat pump will be used to increase the supply temperature. At the same time, keeping the temperature level of the supply as low as possible is desired for high efficiency. A smart control solution, taking into account the real-time data from the substations, will control the heat pump. All substations will be equipped with sensors to collect data and feed this information into a central control system. Thus it will be possible to operate with maximum efficiency. 

Find more information here.



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