Finnish data center developer Remov has announced a 7.2MW data center that will share its waste heat with the city of Seinäjoki. The announcement appears to be a new name for a project launched in 2021.
Remov says 90 percent of the heat generated at the Remov campus will be captured and used in a district heating system run by the local utility Seinäjoki Energy. The 30-hectare site can accommodate up to 150MW of capacity, and if all this heat energy is captured it could cover a large part of the city's need for warmth, says Remov. The company also claims this makes a claim that this makes it a "carbon-negative data center ecosystem."
The data center is due to be built by Rittal, and has support from the city as well as the Finnish Government.
While the announcement gives scant details, it is strikingly similar to a plan announced by Seinäjoki in June 2021, which featured the same partners (Rittal and Seinäjoki Energy), and the same claim to being carbon-negative.
The Remov announcement says the data center will have a power usage effectiveness (PUE) of 1.1, and an "energy flow ratio" of 1.0. The site will benefit from Finland's renewable grid, competitive power prices, cold climate, and abundant water for cooling, as well as a skilled workforce. The facility also complies with Uptime Institute's Tier III availability requirements, says Remov, making no claim of certification.
Remov says the facility will recover 96 percent of its waste heat, and more than 90 percent will be used in the district heat network - adding that these are "the very highest efficiency ratios in the world."
In June 2021, the city of Seinäjoki said that "the world's most modern and environmentally friendly data center" would be built there by the end of 2022. The facility would use green electricity and be located on the main road and railway line, close to the airport, with access to new fiber connections coming from Asia and Europe.
The 2021 announcement also promised that more than 90 percent of the waste heat would be used by Seinäjoki Energy's district heating network, making it "carbon-negative". The city claimed this made it the "world's first" carbon-negative data center, although many other Nordic data center offer their heat for reuse.
The City said the facility would use "completely new technology" designed by Rittal, quoting Mikko Aho, Rittal's Finnish sales director: "We were interested in the project right from the start. We want to be involved in developing an energy-efficient project that emphasizes green values."
Kiinteistö Oy DC Seinäjoki was to be responsible for the construction.
The project was also backed by Finland's Minister of Economic Affairs Mika Lintilä, and the mayor of Seinäjoki, Jaakko Kiiskilä, who said: "The new data center significantly reduces, for example, the city's Co2 emissions. It also has an impact on the Co2 emissions of Finland as a whole."
Kiiskilä said the facility would be "a new opportunity for the city of Seinäjoki and the entire business life of the area," adding that it would be "a massive investment in itself and a significant head start in an industry whose growth does not seem to end."
Vesa Hätilä, CEO of Seinäjoen Energia said that the heat from the data center would be a good solution to help it reach its goal of being carbon neutral by 2030: "The useful heat of the data center would initially produce about a tenth of the district heat needed by Seinäjoki, and in the future even about a third of the heat needs. The heat from the data center would heat all the small houses on Seinäjoki within the district heating area, and there would still be some leftover."
The 2021 announcement promised the first phase of Seinäjoki Data Park would be built for around €100 million ($110m), and the total could rise to €1 billion ($1.1bn). The buildings were slated to cost €34m to €39m ($37m-$43m) with data center equipment making up the remainder - although this price could vary depending on "what kind of technology the end users want."
The facility would be aimed at "global players with special company-specific requirements," presumably hypescale cloud players.
According to DC Byte, the facility was to be built by Kiinteistö Oy, and operated by a company called International Data Center Oy, but actual construction was paused until "it becomes clear what kind of companies are needed first".
DCD has reached out to Remov, Rittal, International Data Center Oy, and the city of Seinäjoki, for more details of how the project has changed and developed.
In response, Rittal's Mikko Aho has confirmed that this is the same project: "Remov.co is more like a marketing brand."
Remov itself has clarified that the company is negotiating with tenants, and hopes to start construction before the end of 2023. The local utility has installed the 110Kv ring network, and the ground surface is cleaned to bedrock ready for building to begin.
Hoofnote: The city of Seinajoki is also the host for the Finnish Hobby Horse Championship, an international competition for hobby horse enthusiasts.
The 2023 event took place in June. Classes include dressage, freestyle dressage with music, show jumping, and Western riding.