Energy Globe World Award 2019
Finalist in the category Fire
Stockholm Exergi captures excess heat from data centers, sewage systems and industrial processes. In 2012, the work was intensified, and a heat recovery offering named Open District Heating was launched in 2014. With data centers being the largest potential source of excess heat, it was decided in 2017, in cooperation with the City of Stockholm, grid provider Ellevio and dark fiber operator Stokab, to launch Stockholm Data Parks to encourage major data center operators to locate in Stockholm with a view to performing heat recovery on a large scale.
By 2040, the City of Stockholm should be entirely fossil fuel free. Besides making transportation green, the main challenge is to make the heating of the city 100% renewable. Already today, thanks to the city‘s district heating network and conscious selection of technologies and fuels, more than 89% of the heating is fossil fuel free, with the heating network covering close to 80% of the city‘s population. Phasing out the remaining fossil fuels requires a multipronged strategy, deploying new technologies and fuels.
The main objective of Stockholm Data Parks is to get more data centers to do heat recovery and contribute to the city‘s objective to become entirely fossil fuel free by 2040, with Stockholm Exergi becoming fossil fuel free already before 2030. The reuse of data center heat allows Stockholm Exergi to phase out fossil fuels, and data centers deploying renewable electricity can become climate net positive. Notably, a 10 MW data center load can heat 20,000 modern residential flats. For the data center, heat recovery is financially very attractive since the excess heat is purchased for around $ 200,000 per MW and year.
With the booming data center industry already today consuming close to 2% of the global electricity, and even more if crypto currencies are included, there is an urgent need to make data centers energy efficient. With heat recovery, energy efficiency in data centers is taken to the next level. The main innovations relate to bridging the gap between key actors that so far have not cooperated. By integrating their systems, a major positive impact can be achieved on the environment, the electrical grid and for profitability.