As the world becomes increasingly digitalised, the need for servers - to store and process the huge amounts of data that we're producing - grows with it. A startup from Dresden, Cloud&Heat, has come up with a way of transforming all the warmth they give off into more than just a bunch of hot air.
In Germany alone there are already an estimated 50,000 data centres. As well as needing huge amounts of electricity to run, they also produce huge amounts of heat - meaning they require regular cooling. And the cooling process requires energy too. So that ultimately, taking care of servers is a very expensive business. Not to mention its effect on the environment.
Cloud&Heat turns the downsides of server centres into something positive: with their innovative direct water cooling systems. Server cabinets fitted with Cloud&Heat's technology are cooled by water which moves past the processors: cooling the servers and warming the water at the same time. A heat exchanger ensures that the heat lands in a buffer tank where it can be turned into something usable - like, for example, being used to warm buildings.
The idea has already found favour with a whole range of clients. Cloud & Heat's server racks are soon to be found in Eutothem - the former headquarters of the European Central Bank, in Frankfurt am Main. With a price tag ranging between 25,000 and 250,000 euro, they're definitely not cheap. But when you consider the money saved on electricity and heating (not to mention the decreased carbon footprint) it certainly seems like a convincing investment.
This article is a translation by Marisa Pettit of the original article which first appeared on RESET's German-language site.