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Around the Alliance #4 - Transforming heat into a sustainable resource
3 Nov 2021

Around the Alliance #4 - Transforming heat into a sustainable resource

We hosted our 4th Around the Alliance session live on LinkedIn on Wednesday, 27 October at 15:00 CEST

What was the session about?

Using excess heat from data centers comprehensively and reasonably is one of the biggest steps facilities can make in improving energy usage efficiency.

In this session, we shared perspectives on why heat reuse is not already the norm for data centers, the most prevalent blocks to implementation, and how the industry can solve them.

Key takeaways

  • One of the biggest barriers to implementing heat reuse in data centers is getting the data center and its stakeholders onboard for doing so.
  • Another barrier is using inefficient cooling technologies like air-cooling.
  • Significant waste heat is produced during the summer when the heat demand is relatively low in comparison to the wintertime.
  • For some heat grids, the temperature of the waste heat has to reach 70 degrees Celsius, which is extremely difficult without using extra power.
  • The food industry has very good opportunities for utilizing waste heat.
  • PUE as a data center metric does not take heat reuse into account.
  • Combined compute and heat reuse could be utilized more in the future with increases in the price of fossil fuel and heating costs.


This Around the Alliance session was moderated by our Director of Community, Julie Chenadec, and featured three panelists with amazing insights into the data center industry and the topic of heat reuse:

Content of the session

The event started with an introduction from our moderator Julie Chenadec, and short introductions from our three panelists, followed by an in-depth discussion facilitated by Julie and contributory questions from the audience. Timestamps for the questions and topics we discussed below:

  • General introduction 3:37
  • Introduction of the panelists 4:23
  • How are Danfoss, Blockheating, and HeatVentors contributing to the creation of a sustainable digital economy? 8:51
  • What does heat reuse mean to you? 12:53
  • What do you think are the most important barriers to wide implementation of heat recovery from data centers? 17:19
  • Which district heating scheme is more likely to be implemented within data centers in the future? 22:12
  • What are the current regulations and/or transitions that are happening in your countries regarding heat reuse? 25:15
  • What kind of advantage does distributing waste heat to data centers have? 31:17
  • How important is the role of energy utility? 37:55
  • Why is heat reuse not the norm already? 41:05
  • At LeafCloud we are convinced that transporting heat never has a positive business case. So waste heat should be reused directly either to district heating or heating a building. Do you agree and see any successful examples? 44:21
  • Are there other industries that could use waste heat? 47:35
  • PUE and heat reuse 50:55
  • Do you think that the increasing price of fossil fuels for heating will be a driver for combined heat and compute? 53:20
  • Closing words 59:27

We had an amazing discussion with stimulating opinions, lots of informative industry insights, and active audience participation. Enjoy watching the recording via the link at the top of the page. A big thank you to Jeroen, Drew, and Zoltàn for joining us, as well as everyone that attended this event!

We are looking forward to our 5th Around the Alliance session on 16 November.

If you don't want to miss the next Around the Alliance session, follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter. If you are interested in being a panelist for the next event, reach out to us at: [email protected].

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