Data Centre – Heating Up Swimming Pools

The Potential of Excess Heat from Data Centers

As the world becomes more reliant on technology than ever before, data centres are popping up all over the globe to store and process the vast amounts of data we generate every day. However, these data centres consume massive amounts of power and generate significant amounts of heat, which is leading to rising energy costs and environmental concerns.

Innovative Use of Excess Heat

Fortunately, some scientists are researching and developing innovative ways to make use of the excess heat produced by data centres by using them to heat other objects. One such example is a leisure centre swimming pool in Devon, which is being heated using the excess heat generated by computers in a nearby data centre.

Cost Saving Solution

To achieve this, scientists have surrounded the computers in the data centre with a special type of oil that absorbs the heat generated by the machines. This heated oil is then transported to the leisure centre where it warms the swimming pool. This method not only saves thousands of pounds on energy costs but is also considered environmentally friendly since the oil is warmed up, not burned for energy. Furthermore, the data centre can save on cooling costs by using this method.

The Benefits of Utilizing Excess Heat

This sustainable cost saving method is especially significant when sixty-five swimming pools across the UK have closed since 2019, due to rising heating expenses. This new method of heating swimming pool water with the data centre’s excess heat is a promising solution that other swimming pools in the UK are interested in using.

A Promising Solution in Sweden

In Sweden, massive data centres are being used to provide heat for nearly one million homes. It works by cold water being pumped into the data centres to cool the computers, and the resulting heated water is then distributed to nearby heating companies to warm homes.

Concerns Over Energy Usage and Environmental Impact

While this innovative method of makes use of excess heat from data centres to heat other objects is a significant step forward, some scientists have expressed concerns about the massive amounts of energy required to store data on the internet, which may not always come from renewable or sustainable sources and may contribute to climate change.

Finding Sustainable Solutions

Professor Gordon Blair, an Environmental Data Scientist at Lancaster University, warns of the potential dangers of storing an ever-increasing amount of data and suggests that we need to find more sustainable ways of managing our data to minimize environmental impact.