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Residual DigiPlex data centre heat to warm Stockholm households

In Sweden, DigiPlex, a leading data centre supplier in the Nordics, and Stockholm Exergi AB (formerly Fortum Värme), a leading heating and cooling utility in Stockholm, have signed a large-scale heat reuse agreement. The agreement is the world’s first where an already operational data centre with an indirect evaporative air-to-air cooling solution, will be retrofitted to recover excess heat for use in the local district heating system.

Fortum Värme's newly commissioned biomass-fuelled combined heat and power plant in Stockholm, Sweden.

In 2016, Stockholm Exergi (previously known as Fortum Värme) commissioned biomass-fuelled combined heat and power plant in Stockholm, Sweden.

UK-headed DigiPlex Group Services is a privately held company that specialises in supplying data centre services and operates data centres in Denmark, Norway, Sweden and the UK.

According to a statement, the agreement with Stockholm Exergi, an energy utility company jointly owned by the City of Stockholm and Finland-headed energy major Fortum Oyj, DigiPlex will supply around 5 MW of heat which corresponds to the heating demand for up to 10 000 modern residential apartments.

A progressive data centre industry needs to use all means available to reduce its environmental footprint. Today, data centres are responsible for 2 percent of the world’s annual carbon dioxide (CO₂) emissions and 3 percent of the power consumption.

Every time we browse the Internet, stream a TV series or use the cloud, a process starts in a data centre. If that data centre is a power-hungry fossil fuel-fired one that releases excess heat into the atmosphere, we as individuals are contributing to climate change. At DigiPlex we are very proud to lead the industry by using the excess heat from our Stockholm data centre to heat thousands of households. Digitization needs to support improved sustainability, and this partnership with Stockholm Exergi is a big leap forward, one that could enable residents’ digital activity to contribute to heating their own homes, said Gisle M. Eckhoff, CEO at DigiPlex.

Close to ninety percent of all buildings in Stockholm are connected to the district heating network. The Swedish capital is one of the few cities in the world where large-scale heat reuse from major data centres is possible.

The agreement with DigiPlex is a strong validation of our waste heat recovery program and Stockholm Data Parks. The partnership with DigiPlex shows that heat recovery to district heating systems is also compatible with indirect air-to-air cooling technology. It represents a key step towards our vision of using data centre heat to contribute to a more sustainable society. As part of our drive to make Stockholm fossil fuel-free, our objective is that 10 percent of Stockholm’s heating needs shall be provided by recovered data centre waste heat, said Anders Egelrud, CEO at Stockholm Exergi.

DigiPlex says that it aims to set the “standard for best practice” within the data centre industry and represents the new generation of data centre suppliers.

Digitalization must go hand in hand with the development of environmental technology. With Stockholm being in the absolute forefront of both fields this is a natural step for the city. Utilizing smart technological solutions to make the most of synergies between recovered data center heat and the city’s heating needs is a part of the environmental objective to become fossil fuel. I am determined to make Stockholm a major hub for sustainable data centers, said Karin Wanngård, Mayor of the City of Stockholm.

DigiPlex helps companies maximize savings through innovation while reducing their carbon footprint and environmental impact. DigiPlex’ data centres are powered exclusively by sustainable sources of electricity and their new sites are some of the greenest and most energy efficient data centres in the world.

Sustainability is at the core of our DNA and heat reuse is the next innovative step in our sustainability journey. Adding the ability to reuse excess heat for residential and office housing will help customers in our highly energy efficient Stockholm data centre, which features the award winning Air-to-Air and Concert Control systems, to reduce their environmental impact even further. By working together with Stockholm Exergi, we will contribute to a more sustainable data centre industry that can contribute even more to the future of our cities and society at large, concluded Eckhoff.

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