Germany Afraid of Winter Bibber!
With gasoline shortages looming, we may have to prepare for a fourth cold season. But now the digital association Bitkom is coming around the corner with a surprising study: Computer heat!
To be more precise, it goes in the bitkom studio* to waste heat from large data centers. According to this, around 350,000 apartments in Germany could receive energy for heating and hot water.
“We should not continue to let this potential lie fallow,” Bitkom chairman Achim Berg explained on Tuesday. The main focus is on medium and large data centers in the area of Frankfurt (Main), Berlin, Hamburg and Munich. The connected load amounts to a total of 965 megawatts, of which about half could be used for waste heat.
For classification: According to the Federal Environment Agency, the consumption of heating and hot water in private households is 131 kilowatt hours per square meter per year. Depending on the year, 31.9 million square meters could be supplied with computing power.
Prerequisite for the project: the direct connection of data centers to public and private district heating networks. And therein lies the problem: According to Bitkom, the necessary infrastructure is often lacking.
Therefore, additional investments are necessary. The waste heat temperature is usually just below the temperature of district heating networks and therefore needs to be slightly increased with the help of heat pumps. Therefore, Bitkom requires that the use of heat pumps in combination with the use of waste heat be exempt from network charges.
Using waste heat from data centers would not only reduce reliance on Russian gas, Bitkom explained. The energy balance of rapidly growing data centers can also be improved in this way. Until now, most of the emission-free thermal energy from data centers has been released into the environment unused.
*Calculations are based on a study conducted by the Borderstep Institute on behalf of Bitkom.
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