Nov 26, 2020

New Dutch data centre will heat people’s homes

Data Centres
Energy Management
Joanna England
3 min
Courtesy of Caransa Group
Real estate trust group Caransa is building a facility that is capable of district heating...

Amsterdam will be the first city in Holland to have a data centre that can harness its excess heat for use in the wider community.

The new data centre will utilise thermal storage and state-of-the-art systems, in combination with continuous monitoring of energy consumption, to share excess heat and to reduce energy usage. 

The facility is being built by Caransa Group, specialists in commercial property development. The data centre will be over 1mn square feet in size and will consist of three, 80-metre high towers located next to Amsterdam’s Telegraaf Media Group head office in the Western Docklands.

Data centre restrictions

Earlier this year, a one-year moratorium on data centre construction was lifted in Amsterdam, allowing developers to resume projects. The directive was put in place following concerns that data centre demands on the local power grid and land requirements were spiralling out of control.

New legislation now allows developments to continue if restrictions on power budgets and floor space are strictly observed. 

The new data centre will also, as a concession, provide energy for use by local homes and businesses. Waste heat from the Amsterdam facility will serve the district heating network of Westpoort Warmte, a joint venture between Nuon, a Vattenfall company, and the Municipality of Amsterdam.

Such practices are more commonplace in the Nordics where district heating systems are compatible with sharing the excess heat.

New systems

The heat-sharing concept has been under consideration for some time in Amsterdam, according to reports. In 2018, the local government in Amsterdam said it was hoping to use excess heat from data centres aiding the city’s project to eliminate gas-fired central heating by 2050.

Equinix was reportedly planning to divert heat to several buildings at the University of Amsterdam. The company had plans to deliver 100% of its residual heat to the district heating network, supplying around 70,000 buildings. 

Following on from that, this September, CyrusOne announced it was partnering with the Municipality of Haarlem and business park PolanenPark to research capturing waste heat at its Amsterdam I data centre.

The company leading the heat collection and distribution project is Vattenfall - a Swedish enterprise currently working with district heating networks across Europe. In 2019, Swedish power company Vattenfall and AEB announced it would invest $474mn over the next three years into growing out their district heating network.

Trending sustainability

News of Amsterdam’s new data centre project comes hot on the heels of Facebook’s recent announcement that it is embarking on a sizable expansion project at its hyperscale data centre in Odense, Denmark. 

The 50,000 square metre facility, which will result in more than 160,000 MWh of recycled energy, is being built out with almost 30,000 square metres of additional floor space. The $1.5bn project will cost an estimated $1.5bn and will employ up to 900 construction workers at its peak. 

As part of Facebook’s sustainability goals, the excess energy will be captured and used to heat 11,000 homes in the local area. The Odense data centre was also recently granted a LEED Gold certification for energy efficiency. 

According to a statement released by Caransa Group, the Amsterdam project will be a test case for future sustainable developments and heat-sharing facilities with more projects already in the pipeline. 

It said, “This new project will lead to the realisation of the second data centre of the Caransa Group. It will be the most energy-efficient data centre in Amsterdam and fits perfectly with Amsterdam’s climate goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 40% in 2025.”

The statement concluded, “As the present generation of data centres consumes large amounts of energy, it’s crucial that technologies such as thermal storage and other cutting-edge systems are used. In combination with continuous monitoring of energy consumption, they will result in significant energy savings for the new data centre.”

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Jun 15, 2021

LCL acquires ENGIE Solutions data centre in Gembloux

2 min
LCL acquires the ENGIE solutions data centre in Gembloux in Belgium, the new facility being the company’s first in Wallonia

The data centre company LCL has announced today that it has acquired the ENGIE solutions data centre in Gembloux, Belgium through the acquisition of Cofely data solutions. The new facility, called Wallonia One, is the company’s first facility in Wallonia. As part of the agreement, LCL will take over the management of the facility’s employees as well as the data centre itself. The value of the acquisition is undisclosed. 

LCL says that Wallonia One is its fifth data centre in the Belgian market and its second acquisition, after purchasing the Atos data centre in Huizingen in April last year. Laurens van Reijen, CEO of LCL, said: “With this fifth data centre, we are increasing our presence on the market. Gembloux is located in the heart of the Walloon economy. As a result, LCL Wallonia One offers excellent connection possibilities for the business sites and parks throughout Wallonia. 

“Thanks to our other strategic sites located in the four corners of the Brussels and Antwerp peripheries, we can ensure that any company will have close links with other regions in our country”, van Reijen said. 

Four employees under a fixed contract with Cofely Data Solutions will be joining the LCL team for the acquisition. Remaining part of the LCL Wallonia One, the employees will be under the leadership of their current manager, Nicolas Coppée, LCL said. 

“We warmly welcome our four new colleagues and their support will be effectively integrated,” said Laurens van Reijen. “LCL is still strongly driven by service and quality. We intend not only to build synergies between our five data centres but also to introduce some innovations. Our current team of 37 employees is specialised in data centre services. So this is a win-win-win operation: for the customers of data centres, for ENGIE Solutions, and for LCL”. 

Wallonia One’s “solar park”

LCL also says that the Wallonia One data centre features a solar park to provide power for the facility. The park includes 2,000 photovoltaic panels which generate 1MW of electricity, LCL claims. The centre also has a low Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) rating of 1.25, in line with the company’s sustainability and efficiency objectives. 

Committed to making all of its data centres carbon-neutral by 2030, LCL has created the “Climate Neutral Data Centre Pact” across Europe, which consists of 24 companies and 17 associations. 

In addition to Wallonia One, LCL and ENGIE Solutions have also concluded a collaboration agreement, thus enabling ENGIE Solutions to build new data centres for LCL. There are also plans for ENGIE Solutions to advise LCL on energy efficiency, given ENGIE’s experience in such projects.


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