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Danfoss moves to make data centres sustainable

DENMARK: The smart use of cutting-edge technologies in the construction of data centres could see these huge consumers of energy becoming sources of sustainable energy by utilising the excess heat.

Danish manufacturer Danfoss says that it will be building data centres that will be an example for future climate-friendly designs. It says it has the technologies to cool data centres in a greener way, to reduce their energy consumption, and to recover the excess heat for other applications.

These will include a number of technological initiatives including the use of lower-GWP refrigerants and reducing the cooling requirement.

The company’s headquarters in Nordborg, Denmark, which is expected to become CO2 neutral next year, will see 25% of its overall heat requirement being provided by excess heat from its own data centres in 2024.

Location is a key factor in utilising the excess heat. The data centre will be near the location of data use and where the local area can benefit from the excess heat. This provides the opportunity to use oil-free heat-pump systems to transform the data centre into a heat source.

The technologies include chillers and heat pumps featuring Danfoss Turbocor oil-free technology that allow data centres to be cooled up to 30% more efficiently and to recover excess heat generated by the data centres. Danfoss says it will also be employing its innovative solutions for heat recovery. 

“Using the latest technologies for cooling and heat recovery we transform data centres from energy consumers to sources of sustainable energy. It is exciting to see that in action at our own data centres,” said Danfoss Climate Solutions president Jürgen Fischer.

Danfoss sees this as “a massive opportunity” to provide an environmentally friendly solution that will help the company reach complete global decarbonisation by 2030.

The company will be consolidating 20 global data centres and 135 server rooms into a handful of data centres, which will all be built utilising Danfoss’ green technologies.

“The data centres of the future will be hybrid data centres where we combine the best of two worlds: the cloud and the on-site data centre. And we utilise the excess heat in the energy grids close to where it is produced,” commented Danfoss CIO Sune T Baastrup.

“We have managed to build our own climate-friendly data centres, effectively in less than half a year. We want to show that digital transformation and green transition go hand-in-hand,” Baastrup added.

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