Heat recovery from data centers in Brunswick
The Brunswick demonstration site is run by Veolia’s subsidiary BS|ENERGY, which is a local energy provider for electricity, heat, gas and water in Brunswick. It operates an existing district heating grid that provides 45% of the city, powered by high-efficiency cogeneration plants.
The district heating network will be expanded to a residential area with approx. 400 housing units. Just next to this residential area, a data centre is currently built. A data centre has an extensive cooling demand, which in return produces excess heat.
The newly built energy efficient housing area will enable the deployment of a low temperature 4th generation district heating network. The peak heat demand and the base load will be fully covered by the waste heat potential of the data centre. A connection to the existing high temperature district heating network of BS|ENERGY will also be provided, enabling flexibility in the system and demand peak shaving.
A data centre requires constant cooling to maintain a moderate climate in the computer room. This excess heat produced during the cooling process can be discharged to the ambient air through so-called free cooling. Then, a heat exchanger cools the inner air by transferring the heat to an outside air flow of lower temperature.
Due to the low temperature of the heat source, a heat pump will be used to increase the supply temperature. At the same time, keeping the temperature level of the supply as low as possible is desired for high efficiency. A smart control solution, taking into account the real-time data from the substations, will control the heat pump. All substations will be equipped with sensors to collect data and feed this information into a central control system. Thus it will be possible to operate with maximum efficiency.