Europe wants more cities to use data center waste heat
The European Union’s — and especially Germany’s — plans to reduce the continent’s environmental impact have caused some consternation in the data center industry.
The union has set renewable energy targets for a wide range of industries to achieve by 2035, including making the heating and cooling sector carbon neutral by reusing waste heat from data centers to keep cities warm.
Germany wants to go a step further by introducing energy reuse targets, and while data center companies are happy to recycle their by-products, they fear it will impose a financial burden on them.
The cost of going green
Anna Klaft of the German Data Center Association told Bloomberg (opens in a new tab) Said in January “we are prepared to provide substantial funding for this” but added “[not] Everything should be transferred to this department. “
Although data centers don’t dissipate enough heat for heating systems, heat pumps can be used to give them the warming they need.The problem is that they themselves consume a lot of power, Uptime Institute revealed in a report study (opens in a new tab) Last year, designing a site so that the heat it dissipates can be reused generally increases energy consumption because “heat pumps are required to increase the temperature of the outgoing heat”.
It turns out, though, that this could still “reduce overall carbon emissions by reducing the energy needed to heat up”. But the report also notes that reusing data center waste heat only makes sense in regions with cooler climates, namely Northern Europe, and connections must be made to get the heat where it needs to go.
European Union claim (opens in a new tab) Heating accounts for half of all energy needs on the continent, 70% of which is produced using fossil fuels. This explains why it is promoting district heating to recover heat from industries such as data center sites.
Heat pumps are also expensive to run, making German data center operators uneasy because the country’s proposed legislation – the Bill to Increase Energy Efficiency, Improve Climate Protection and Implement EU Legislation (Energieeffizienzgesetz, EnEfG) – could make it mandatory for them to Donate 10% of waste heat from 2025, then 20% from 2028, and leave the cost of doing so with them.
A draft law has been introduced officially recognized (opens in a new tab) by the Federal Cabinet.