The next step for the Data Centre: is carbon neutral service delivery to be a realistic prospect?

Interesting article from 

The re-cycling of excess Data Centre heat is essential if carbon neutrality is to be achieved”

The key way for a Data Centre to become carbon neutral is for the facility to be capable of recycling heat into the local housing community. By doing this the Data Centre can become a contributor to the wider community. But the heating infrastructure, taxation and energy pricing policies will need to be changed to allow the Data Centre to benefit from supplying surplus heat into the community.

As an example, in May 2020 the Danish Government announced a series of climate action plans to ensure the country achieves a 70 per cent reduction in CO2 emissions by 2030. One proposal is to promote the use of green surplus heat from Data Centres with the abolition of tax on the surplus heat generated from Data Centres.

The recycling of excess heat is already a feature of the Scandinavian Data Centre market, with Stockholm Data Parks (founded in 2017) recycling excess Data Centre heat to Stockholm residential apartments. In November 2019, Stockholm Data Parks announced that three additional Data Centres in the Kista region of Stockholm (supplied by Interxion, IP Only & Advania) would participate in the recycling of excess Data Centre heat to some 35,000 residential apartments.

Currently Stockholm Data Park has two sites under development (at Kista and Brista) and a third to be developed at Skarpnack south of the city to be launched during 2021. The company claims that it has more than 30 Data Centres connected to Stockholm Energi’s district energy & heat recovery network.

But if Data Centres are to become carbon neutral than their ability to re-cycle their excess heat into the surrounding community will be crucial to their future development.

At a glance

  • No: 768739
  • Acronym: CATALYST
  • Title: Converting data centres in energy flexibility ecosystems
  • Starting date: October 1, 2017
  • Duration in months: 36
  • Call identifier: H2020-EE-2017-RIA-IA
  • Topic: EE-20-2017; Bringing to market more energy efficient and integrated data centres