Welcome back, listeners, to the second episode in DCD's podcast series, Zero Downtime. This time we're taking a deep look at what is inarguably a hot topic: waste heat reuse.

For as long as the current editorial team can remember, data center operators have been urged to make the best use of the energy they consume, by offering their waste heat to their neighbors. You want to get rid of the heat, and homes nearby could use it instead of switching on a gas boiler. The idea sounds solid but, despite a few outlying successes (notably Stockholm Data Parks), very few data centers have actually made it work.

To find out why, we turned to Max Schulze, who founded industry pressure group the Sustainable Digital Infrastructure Alliance, and his answer surprised us.

Apparently, the best way to make sure your waste heat is used, is to sell it for a price, instead of giving it away for free. Max explains the reasoning best, but in a nutshell, it gives the utility firms a figure to put in their spreadsheets, so they actually understand what they are getting.

The data center industry wants to reach Net Zero, but it's a complex maneuver, given the links with every other aspect of our lives. The SDIA is a stakeholder group that follows up these connections, and Max comes up with some other surprising ideas, if you listen to the end!

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We're working on future episodes now, lining up the best speakers we can. But if you have any suggestions, feedback, or just want to email someone, you can get in touch at [email protected]