The first district heating network fueled by energy recovered from data centers will soon come on stream at the new Val d'Europe business park in Marne-la-Vallée near Paris (France). This is the first application of this technology in France and it opens up promising prospects in terms of energy choices as part of sustainable regional growth.
Data centers are offices that house computer equipment. They need to be constantly cooled by air conditioning units which generate a high volume of hot air that can now be collected and recovered using recent technological advances. At the Val d'Europe business park, Dalkia will use this heat that will be transmitted via a heat exchanger to a new heating network that will eventually supply green energy to buildings with a surface area of 600,000 sq. m. (6,458,350 sq. ft.).
By utilizing in this way energy that is usually not recovered by data centers, this district heating network offers a very real alternative to fossil fuels (heating oil and gas), resulting in a facility that is less susceptible to economic constraints and environmental concerns, as it will not generate any pollution emissions. As a result, 100% green energy is made available to the companies and buildings at the park. More than 5,400 metric tons of CO2 emissions will be saved each year.
For the implementation of this project, Dalkia received the support of the French Environment and Energy Management Agency (Ademe). Dalkia is responsible for the design, installation and management of this new private network.
Work started in February 2011 at the Val d'Europe business park on the construction of the boiler and the pipe network, and the first connections are expected to be made before the end of this year.
There are almost 2,100 data centers in the world, of which 100 are in France. This number is expected to increase by 23% a year over the coming years. Today, they account for 2% of the world's CO2 emissions, or the same as air transportation.