Cloud&Heat: Warm Water from Web Servers?

German internet services company Cloud&Heat Technologies GmbH has created a new way of using up waste heat from its internet cloud-computing web-servers. This otherwise wasted heat is used to heat buildings and to provide warm water.

The cloud computing servers are installed in their client’s buildings. This is in contrast to a traditional cloud computing company in which all of the servers are placed in a data centre. The advantages of spreading out the computers are that the waste heat can in effect be “sold on” as background heat or hot water and that there isn’t a single – possibly vulnerable – data centre. A normal data centre requires expensive heat removal systems.

The cloud-computing services that are provided by these servers are then sold on to third parties. Currently, Cloud&Heat only install their cloud-computing servers in buildings in Germany.

The technical requirements for a Cloud&Heat installation are quoted as:

  • A buffer tank of at least 500 litres capacity
  • An internet connection of at least 50 Mbits/s
  • 400 volt power supply
  • Three sixteen amp (ie. cooker) power supply
  • Separate meter panel

The system can be connected to the building’s existing using normal plumbing connections.

During warm periods when heating is not required an air-handling system can extract the heat from the servers and vent it outside to the air.

How much does this all cost? There is a one off payment of €12,000. This covers the entire cost of the installation for 15 years. All other costs such as maintenance, replacement and internet connection are paid for by Cloud&Heat. The company also insures the data as well as the building against damage from its equipment.