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Around the world, there are approximately 8.4 million data centers. One would assume that such a vast tech industry vertical would attract extensive attention towards its efficiency and operation. However, data centers globally consume tremendous amounts of energy to render its services functional. In the US alone, data centers consumed 139 billion kilowatt-hours in 2020 which translated into sufficient electricity to power all households in New York City for the upcoming two years. Data centers are becoming vital in the technical leap forward for society. However, the inefficiency encompassed by this industry is not adequately addressed by startups, scaleups or corporates.

Problem Statement: The two fundamental issues leading to the rising issue with data centers are: virtually all data centers are run 24/7 and to eliminate power outages, additional banks of generators that release diesel exhaust are installed. This implies that vast amounts of energy is consumed and a portion of this energy is emitted into the air, which contributes to global warming. Hence, the residual energy is then transformed into waste. This waste is a powerful asset that many organizations have failed to realize and exploit.

Scope for Innovation: Although numerous solution directions do not exist to tackle this emerging concern, there are certain innovative ideas that are being implemented. For instance, organizations are undertaking research to conceptualize approaches to minimizing the amount of energy consumption at data centers. Moreover, powerful cooling systems are also being deployed to diminish the amount of residual energy being transmitted from the data centers into the air.

Solution of the Week: Although these solutions address the efficiency aspect of data centers, they do not propose a new way to transform the energy residue into an added-value product. This is when Blockheating comes into play.

Blockheating is a Dutch startup founded in 2018. Since heat generated by data centers is dissipated to the outside air, Blockheating developed a solution to address this explicit issue . The company captures heat emitted from data centers and utilizes it to heat greenhouses and buildings. This results in mutual benefits as both the data center and user of heat can save money through this process. Stay up to date with their mission to transform energy residual waste into value here: