Edge Data center provider nLighten today signed a Letter of Intent with the City of Eschborn and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmBH (GIZ) to reuse the waste-heat from its data center.

– nLighten

Heat from the facility, which has a capacity of ~2.4MW, will be used for district heating for the Wiesenbad and Eschborn properties owned by GIZ.

In order for this to be put into practice, nLighten and the City of Eschborn will build an 800m supply line connecting its Edge data center to the Wiesenbad, along which it will transfer hot water.

"The advancing digitalization of the economy and parallel energy transition creates an exciting opportunity to integrate data centers into the local energy infrastructure," said Chad McCarthy, CTO at nLighten. "We are very pleased that we are now driving this project together with the City of Eschborn and GIZ."

The move is motivated by both the desire to reduce energy costs for GIZ, but also to boost sustainability initiatives.

"GIZ supports sustainable change in about 120 countries around the world," says Robert Kressirer, head of the department at GIZ. "Sustainability is also a guiding principle for us at our locations in Germany. By using recovered heat, we can further improve the eco-balance of our properties and are driving a climate-friendly solution in Eschborn."

nLighten, as a self-described sustainable data center solutions company, is exploring heat reuse at its 10 other Germany-based locations too, and says that it is ‘already in talks with municipal authorities and local stakeholders.’

The company was only launched in February 2023 by I Squared Capital when it acquired the 10 data centers from Exa Infrastructure (also owned by I Squared). In its launch announcement, nLighten says it intends to operate an Edge data center platform across Europe.

In Canada, another heat-reuse agreement is in progress

Across the Atlantic, QScale recently signed a similar agreement with Energir Development (Energir) for waste heat recovery in Quebec, Canada.

QScale, a high-performance computing data center provider, will provide the waste heat from its facilities, while Energir will manage the project implementation and operations.

The companies are intending to kick off this project at the QScale Q01 campus in Levis. According to the company, up to 96MW could be distributed throughout the local network, with the first phase of delivery expected in the first half of 2024.

The campus is powered by 99.5 percent renewable energy and is located nearby to farming and industrial land, making it a logical location for a wide variety of users to take advantage of the heat.

Martin Bouchard, cofounder and president of QScale, said: “Our mission is to design world-class computing centers aligned with sustainable development principles. Supercomputers hosted in our computing centers act as radiators, generating heat.

“QScale is specifically designed to recover 100 percent of this waste heat. It is therefore natural for QScale to partner with a recognized partner such as Énergir, which aims to diversify into sustainable energy distribution.”

Qscale broke ground on a second data center building at its Levis campus in September of last year. This second phase of eight will see the total capacity raise up to 24MW, with a full build-out goal of 98MW.

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