Data center converts waste heat into hot water for swimming pools

A startup has unveiled a UK-first solution to skyrocketing energy bills: data center heating.

The company called Deep green, installs small cloud data centers at local companies. The system then converts the heat from the servers into hot water for the host site.

Deep Green provides the equipment free of charge and reimburses the electricity costs. This allows the customer to reduce his CO2 emissions and energy bill.

In return, Deep Green will receive accommodation for the data center, which provides computing power for AI and machine learning to customers.

Computers in the data center the size of a washing machine are surrounded by oil. Credit: deep green.

The “digital water heaters” are now coming to public swimming pools, which are struggling with rising energy costs.

Across Britain, 85 swimming pools have closed since 2019, revealed the Guardian last week. According to trade organization UK Active31% of council areas in England could lose or downsize their leisure centers after the current energy support scheme expires on 1 April.

Deep Green revealed today that a fitness club in Devon is already using the digital boiler. Seven other pools in England have also signed up to the scheme.

To heat them up, the computers in the data center are immersed in mineral oil, which absorbs the heat from the machines. The output is then processed through a heat exchanger and into the water.

The temperature is only topped up when necessary. According to Deep Green, the system can reduce a swimming pool’s gas needs by more than 62%, save £20,000 a year and reduce annual carbon emissions by 25.8 tonnes.

Scheme courtesy of Deep Green.
says deep green it can heat the pool up to 30C 60% of the time. Credit: deep green.

Deep Green’s technology is unusual, but it’s far from the first company to recycle data center heat.

The concept is especially popular in Scandinavia. In Finland eg. plans are in preparation using waste heat from two new Microsoft data centers to heat homes and businesses in and around Helsinki.

However, the project relies on extensive public infrastructure. The data centers will be connected to a 900 km long network of underground pipes to reach users in the region.

Deep Green takes a completely different approach.

“Instead of building a data center and then finding ways to connect it to local communities, Deep Green installs the data centers directly where the heat is needed,” Deep Green CEO Mark Bjornsgaard told TNW via email.

“Using a modular approach and our data centers within ‘the fabric of society’ we bring the heat to the user, reduce energy loss in transport and increase the efficiency of energy recovery.”

According to Bjornsgaard, about 30% of industrial and commercial heat demand can be met by Deep Green’s technology.

Just don’t tell the crypto brethren – or your local pool may soon be hosting a Bitcoin mining rig.

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