The waste heat from the new data centers will be routed to local homes and businesses as hot water.
Microsoft’s new data centers will aid with the heating of homes in Finland according to reports. Microsoft will create data centers in collaboration with state-owned energy company Fortum that will not only be fueled by 100% emission-free electricity, but will also release residual heat generated by Microsoft’s computer-cooling system into local homes and businesses.
The initiative is part of a new data center region Microsoft plans to build near Helsinki, which will be powered entirely by renewable energy. The data centers would generate 60% of the heating in the local area once they are operating, according to Fortum.
Microsoft’s new data centers location was selected for its new data centers because it allowed for “independent power, networking, and cooling for additional tolerance” to failures. “We are incredibly proud of the novel way this datacenter will sustainably power Finnish digital transformation, while also heating Finnish homes and businesses and helping cities achieve their emissions targets,” said Cindy Rose, President of Microsoft Western Europe.
Fortum already uses heat capture and distribution to deliver waste heat in the form of hot water to 250,000 consumers in Espoo, Kauniainen, and Kirkkonummi over a 560-mile network of insulated subterranean pipes.
The concept is unique in that the location for the data centre region was chosen specifically with waste heat recycling in mind according to Fortum. It makes use of Fortum’s existing district heating infrastructure, the second largest in Finland, for heat capture and distribution. The infrastructure includes about 900 km underground pipes that transfer heat to approximately 250,000 users in the cities of Espoo and Kauniainen and the municipality of Kirkkonummi. Fortum has collaborated with the local cities and municipalities for several years in order to pave the way for these investments.
The waste heat recycling project in the data center region, according to the business, will be “the largest of its kind in the world.”
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