Stockholm plans to heat 10% of homes using waste heat from data centres

Stockholm has launched an initiative to use excess energy from data centres to heat homes.

Part of a larger initiative to make the city fossil fuel free by 2040, the Stockholm Data Parks scheme pipes in cold water to chill server banks, then distributes the warmed water for use elsewhere.

Stockholm’s local government is working with district heating and cooling provider Fortum Värme, power grid operator Ellevio and fibre-optic cable provider Stokab to turn the city into a hub for large data centres, and to offer all the infrastructure elements necessary for heat recovery at greenfield sites.

Image courtesy of Stockholm Data Parks

Almost 90% of buildings in Stockholm are already connected to district heating networks, making it one of the few cities in the world where large-scale heat reuse from data centres is possible.

A long-term objective is to meet 10% of the city’s heating needs through data centre waste heat reuse.

Firms using the initiative will get free water for cooling by Fortum Värme and will also be able to sell their waste heat.

The amount of heat produced can be impressive. A new data centre for retailer H&M is designed to handle a 1MW IT load and could heat as many as 2,500 apartments. A planned data centre project by IT and telecom firm Borderlight will run at more than 5MW and can provide heat to 10,000 units.

It was announced earlier this year that what will be the world’s largest data centre is planned for the Arctic Circle in Norway, where the cold climate and hydro power will providing natural cooling and energy for its servers.

Top image: Stockholm (Wikimedia Commons/Arild VÃ¥gen)

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