The Stack Archive

Russian data centres to heat water in Nordic city

Thu 14 Jan 2016

Russian search giant Yandex is set to help the Finnish city of Mäntsälä reduce its carbon emissions by up to 40%, by lending excess heat from its data centres to warm local water.

Yandex data centres located in the city in southern Finland will use their waste heat output to warm the area’s water, in a project funded by Finnish energy company Mäntsälän Sähkö OY. The initiative forms part of a series of tests carried out by Nordic data centres and energy companies to put excess heat from the sites to better use.

The ‘green’ experiment hopes to cut heating costs for the city’s residents by 5% over the coming year, and should slash utility providers’ gas consumption by half.

According to Mäntsälän Sähkö, the effort will help meet EU targets for cutting emissions by 2030. The project with Mäntsälä is also expected to reduce electricity costs across Yandex’s data centre portfolio in the region by up to 30%.

“We wanted to make full use of the excess energies we produce in order to benefit the community. For us it is important to give back to the community we work among,” said Yandex data centre manager Ari Kurvi.

The process will work by feeding water from the city’s supply network into heat exchangers at the data centre. Once there, ventilators pump in hot air which has been generated by the servers. This hot air is used to heat the water to around 30/45 degrees Celsius, at which point it is sent to the heat recovery plant which increases the water temperature to the required 55/60 degrees Celsius, before it is transferred back to the city’s system.

Jane Zavalashina, CEO of Yandex’s Data Factory – a machine learning and big data analytics unit –  commented: “[Our] ethos is built around identifying efficiencies, and this is a solid reflection of that. The future of successful business depends on the intelligent exploitation of data, which inherently requires an increased dependence on data centres. This being the case, we have to be conscious of the environmental impact of our infrastructure.”

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