Waste heat from data centres ensures more sustainability: eco Alliance in an exchange with Patrick Burghardt, State Secretary for Digital Strategy and Development and CIO of the German Federal State of Hesse, at the Data Center Expert Summit.
The ecosystem of digital infrastructures offers great potential for achieving the climate goals in Germany and Europe. This is all the more true for Frankfurt, home to more than 60 data centres and the world’s largest Internet Exchange.
Through the consistent utilisation of waste heat from data centres, all residential and office space in Frankfurt could be heated in a CO2-neutral manner by 2030. However, the municipal authority would first have to make a consistent commitment to Frankfurt as a digital location and overcome various political and bureaucratic hurdles. The industry has long been ready for this exchange – not least with the Alliance for the Strengthening of Digital Infrastructures in Germany, which was founded under the umbrella of eco – and offers to talk to the city.
Heating with the Internet – seize the opportunity now
This year’s Data Center Expert Summit, hosted by the eco Association in Darmstadt, offers a platform for exchange between politics and industry operators for the Rhine-Main region as well as Germany-wide. In addition to the influence of digital infrastructures on competitiveness and economic growth, the topic of digitalisation and sustainability is a clear focus.
A special highlight of this exchange is the discussion with Hesse’s Digital State Secretary and CIO of the federal state, Patrick Burghardt, representing Digital Minister Prof. Kristina Sinemus and representatives of the Alliance for the Strengthening of Digital Infrastructures in Germany and other industry experts.
“In metropolitan areas, in particular, we now have the opportunity to use the Internet to provide maximum energy-efficient heating on a large scale – but as is so often the case in Germany, this project is still frequently hampered by too much bureaucracy,” says Dr Béla Waldhauser, Spokesperson for the eco Alliance. “This potential of the data centre industry is literally going up in smoke almost every single day. This is despite the fact that waste heat from data centres can be a valuable alternative to fossil fuels.”
Projects such as the Westville construction project in Frankfurt’s Gallus district can serve as a blueprint for Germany; the Rhine-Main region can play an important pioneering role here, Waldhauser continues.
“High-performance computing capacities are the basis for innovative projects and products: whether in industry, agriculture, the health sector, energy supply or mobility,” summarised Hesse’s Digital State Secretary and CIO of the state, Patrick Burghardt: “Data centres are the backbone of digitalisation. Together with gigabit-capable networks and high-performance mobile networks, they form the infrastructure and the foundation of the digital transformation. As we are aware of this, we have dedicated a separate goal to data centres in the Hessian Digital Strategy. We intend to strengthen the high-performance data infrastructures in Hesse and develop them into a pioneer in the field of energy-efficient, sustainable data centres and green IT, so that the Hessian data ecosystem can beneficially unfold its enormous application potential. With the Hessian Data Centre Office, we hope to contribute in contact with the data centre operators and the municipalities to ensure that innovative sustainable solutions secure the progress and future of Hesse as a business location”.