20 Jan 2023, 13:19
Carolina Kyllmann

Data centres in Frankfurt to provide excess heat to district network

Clean Energy Wire

Data centres could provide excess heat to Frankfurt’s district heating network, energy provider Mainova and data centre operator Interxion announced after signing a memorandum of understanding for a joint project on the sustainable use of waste heat. A data centre in the Digital Park Fechenheim – currently under construction – could become the first to feed its waste heat into the city-wide district heating network, and meet the heating requirements of around 3,600 households, according to Interxion. However, plans will only become certain based on the results of a feasibility report which will examine whether it is possible to feed waste heat from the data centre into Mainova's district heating network. Building hot water pipes between the company’s sites and increasing the temperature of the waste heat with heat pumps before it is released into the grid are two factors that need to be accounted for before the project goes ahead.

“We are pushing ahead with the decarbonisation of our heat supply in a technology-open and consistent manner,” Mainova technical director Martin Giehl said. “This is another important step for the energy transition and climate protection.” Data centres, which account for almost three percent of total electricity consumption in Germany, need to cool down their server rooms and therefore have a lot of waste heat to offer. Most of it, however, is currently lost to the atmosphere. Making better use of this waste heat is part of Germany’s new digitalisation strategy to fight the climate crisis. Digital association Bitkom has said waste heat could be used more efficiently by establishing an obligation to purchase it and by modernising heating networks.

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