CyrusOne is partnering with the Municipality of Haarlem and business park PolanenPark to research capturing waste heat at its Amsterdam I data center.
The data center REIT is examining the economic and technical feasibility of taking residual heat from the facility's water cooling process, enhancing it and feeding it into a new district heating network to help heat 15,000 homes in the municipality. Haarlem plans to wean itself off of natural gas by 2040, meaning that it needs to find other ways to heat homes and businesses.
There is one problem. Like most data centers, CyrusOne's waste heat comes out at an average temperature of 30°C (86°F), which is simultaneously too low for the district heating network (which needs water at 70°C), and too hot for the facility's cooling needs. So, the three stakeholders have proposed using a heat pump to transfer heat from the returning water into the departing flow.
This uses refrigerant gas, which expands to absorb heat from one place and is compressed to release it, moving heat to from one place to another. Heat pumps use electrical energy but, because they move heat rather than creating it, they are several times more effective than using that electricity to generate heat directly.
“It is crucial that we build data centers that work in a way that is compatible with a sustainable future,” said Matt Pullen, CyrusOne's EVP and MD of Europe.