Data center uses its waste heat to warm public pool, saving $24,000 per year
Stopping waste heat from going to wasteBy Rob Thubron 27 comments
In brief: The heat generated from a data center is being put to good use by heating a public swimming pool, helping save thousands of dollars per year while cutting carbon emissions. UK-based Deep Green's system provides enough heat to keep the pool at about 86 degrees Fahrenheit 60% of the time.
As reported by Datacenter Dynamics, UK startup Deep Green's 28kW system runs a high-performance computing (HPC) cluster for cloud customers looking to use its computing resources.
The system, which the BBC describes as washing-machine size, is located at Exmouth Leisure Centre swimming pool and has 12 four-CPU cards. It is used for AI training and machine learning workloads, though Deep Green CEO Mark Bjornsgaard says it could be used for cloud services and video rendering in the future.
The 82-foot pool and children's pool in the center need around 222,000 kWh per year to heat. Deep Green's computers are submerged in mineral oil that removes heat from the servers. The hot oil is then pumped into a heat exchange that warms the pool. Deep Green says it's transferring about 96% of the energy used by its computers, reducing the pool's gas heat usage by 62%. That translates to an expected saving of about $24,000 per year and a carbon emission reduction of 25.8 tonnes annually.
Deep Green's contribution comes at a time when energy prices in the UK are spiraling, the result of the Russia-Ukraine war.
Sean Day, who runs the leisure centre, said, "The partnership has really helped us reduce the costs of what has been astronomical over the last 12 months - our energy prices and gas prices have gone through the roof."
Deep Green pays Exmouth Leisure Centre for all the electricity its data center uses and any setup costs.
Deep Green CTO Mat Craggs said, "Our expected heat transfer from the kit is 139,284 kWh a year, equivalent to 62 percent of the pool's heat needs." He added that adding extra servers could increase this to 70 or 80% of the pool's heating needs.
We've heard of data centers utilizing heat in novel ways before. One of the more unusual cases was a business venture in Hokkaido, Japan, that planned to grow hundreds of thousands of eels in water warmed from by its data center waste heat.