Financial and technical boundaries hit Danish datacentre heat recycling idea

Financial and technical boundaries hit Danish datacentre heat recycling idea

A datacentre project in Denmark is grappling with the challenges of reusing raze heat in local central heating systems


  • Mark Ballard

Revealed: 13 May possibly well well 2021 15: 00

Calls for for datacentres to pipe raze heat into central heating systems in folks’s properties in screech of the warming atmosphere have hit monetary and technological boundaries in Denmark. 

Aspiring green datacentre operator Digiplex promised public officers it would possibly possibly well maybe redirect its raze heat to a district heating network after searching for permission in 2019, to form a neat campus in Høje Taastrup, a suburb of Danish capital Copenhagen.

Native councillors had stopped the planning job, and declared that Digiplex would possibly possibly maybe additionally unruffled no longer be permitted to form its datacentre except it’d additionally guarantee its raze heat for local properties. 


Two years later, Digiplex has gained approval to proceed constructing the principle of five datacentres it intends for the Copenhagen campus. But it has unruffled no longer assured its raze heat will be reused and, Computer Weekly has learned, consultants are unruffled attempting to determine whether or no longer worthy of it’d additionally even be aged at all. 


Denmark is geared for the duty, having one among possibly the most broad heat-distribution networks in the realm. But after years of planning, there would possibly possibly be unruffled a niche between public requires for datacentres to recycle their heat and what’s but doubtless. 


Astrid Birnbaum, director of Høje Taastrup Fjernvarme (HTF), the local district heating firm, said that the municipality’s ask to shield Digiplex’s raze heat had materialised real into a idea for it to recycle heat from most productive one among five datacentres it plans to form on the campus. 


“HTF’s heating network is no longer tough ample here to make grunt of the total capability,” said Birnbaum. “We are in a position to shield the principle datacentre, however we don’t desire to shield more because of our network can’t shield it, and we are no longer going to form a really fresh network because of that is doubtless to be too costly.”

Ready on info

HTF used to be furthermore unruffled waiting for Digiplex to specify wanted info with out which it’d additionally no longer make investments in the infrastructure famous to recycle the datacentre’s heat.

“We don’t know but exactly how big the datacentre will be, and how worthy heat they’re giving us. I don’t mediate they know. We’ve got heard a lot of numbers,” said Birnham. “We are no longer going to assign any investments except we know all that, because of we’ve to assign a alternate case to map shut if we are in a position to grunt it, and that this would maybe no longer be too costly.”

She insisted on the opposite hand that this worthy growth used to be commendable. With out the municipality’s intervention, all Digiplex’s raze heat would real be blown into the air. Alternate consultants spoke of pushing technological boundaries to assign it work. But HTF already supplied 70% of town’s household and commercial heating, with established provide from sources similar to raze incineration, wood pellets, and a few gasoline burning. 

Digiplex made heat recycling an choice for town planners when it utilized for their permission to form five datacentres carrying 100 MW of computer vitality in Høje Taastrup, in 2019, in step with public recordsdata. That would grunt twice as worthy vitality as aged to heat the total municipality of 50,000 folks, in step with Computer Weekly’s calculations, if it used to be ever fully constructed and utilised.

Høje Taastrup council’s planning committee pressured Digiplex into making a apt dedication final three hundred and sixty five days to provide its raze heat to HTF. Native press and consultants in the Danish engineering sector perceived this as a ask, which had been met by Digiplex, and which had role a precedent for Denmark.

But Line Marie Pedersen, a accomplice and green planning regulation professional at DLA Piper, said Danish authorities had no vitality to assign such requires.

Peter Faarbæk, who as chairman of the council planning committee had led the requires Digiplex to present its raze heat to HTF, said this had merely been his inner most political conviction, and one who “wasn’t this form of big screech” anyway, because of Digiplex wished to assign it.

Planning recordsdata display that councillors aged their vitality to stall the planning job, seeming to ask its heat be given, however formally most productive asking that Digiplex display it used to be talking to HTF with the aim of guaranteeing that its raze heat would be recycled.

Digiplex met this demand with assurances of mutual ardour and the promise of a apt dedication to provide its heat to HTF, that gave the impression to counsel it would possibly possibly well maybe occur. The dedication, on the opposite hand, pledged to provide most productive as worthy heat as HTF and Copenhagen’s regional heat distributor (VEKS) had been ready to shield, and that it reasonable surplus. Dutch datacentre operators, relationship public make stronger by promoting the doubtless of raze heat recycling, relate that datacentres emit as raze heat 90% of the vitality they spend.

The council and Digiplex’s agreement declared that what heat HTF would possibly possibly maybe additionally no longer shield would be fed as a replacement to VEKS. An govt at VEKS, who requested no longer to be named, said it wasn’t particular it used to be doubtless to make grunt of the raze heat at all.

Ruin heat

A datacentre would on the total emit raze heat at about 30°C. HTF would install heat pumps to broaden its temperature to the 70° wished to heat folks’s properties, however VEKS’ greater-Copenhagen network wished to broaden this to bigger than 100° for transportation over long distances.

“If we are going beyond 100°, we really desire to take a look at the alternate case and have the know-how available to assign that,” he said. “We are in that job for the time being, to behold whether or no longer or no longer it’s doubtless.”

Carl Ove Larsen, datacentres chief at Danish engineering firm Søren Jensen, said: “The utilization of surplus heat from a datacentre is no longer that straightforward.

“That’s why we don’t have worthy surplus heating in the datacentre alternate. For oldsters that offer 5 MW of surplus datacentre heat for a three hundred and sixty five days, at 35°, they desire to heat it up for a three hundred and sixty five days to 100° plus. There would possibly possibly be some expense in doing that. Is it too costly? It relies upon,” he said.

The district in the intervening time wished the heat most productive in cold climate, whereas the datacentre had greater desire to present it in summer season, when the open air temperature reached about 33°.

Digiplex would no longer observation. 

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