The EU Green Deal proposes a path towards sustainable societies and EU leaders agreed on more ambitious greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction targets for 2030 and carbon neutrality by 2050. In recent publications, the European Commission has put a strong emphasis on decarbonisation, greater efficiency and circularity of the heating and cooling sector. The EU Digital Strategy announced a commitment to make data centres climate-neutral by 2030, with actions to be put in place in 2021 to 2022.
Waste heat recovery from data centres (DC) is bound to play an important role for the energy system, since almost 100% of the electricity supply to the data centre is transformed into heat.
Its recovery fosters greater energy efficiency for DC and supports the decarbonisation of district heating and cooling (DHC). There is significant heat recovery potential from unconventional waste heat sources.
Approximately 1.2 EJ (or 340 TWh) per year could be recovered from unconventional waste heat sources, including data centres, which corresponds to more than 10 % of the EU’s total energy demand for heat and hot water.
The DHC and the data centre sectors acknowledge the convergence and synergies between their sectors with the recovery and use of the waste heat generated when cooling data centre facilities into DHC.
Euroheat & Power (EHP), representing the district heating and cooling sector and stakeholders from the data centre value chain – supported by EU projects and cities – have prepared a joint paper with recommendations on making more out of waste heat from data centres.