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Cloud data centres heat public swimming pools for free

27 March 2023

UK-first technology is helping swimming pools and local businesses to reduce both their energy bills and their carbon footprint.

Deep Green, a British start-up, has announced the launch of a new technology that supplies free heat to help local businesses and public swimming pools to cut down their reliance on carbon-intensive fossil fuel boilers.

Deep Green’s ‘digital boiler’ technology is a cloud data centre that efficiently transforms the heat from its servers into useful hot water for local businesses.

It is installed on site at swimming pools or businesses with consistent heat needs, such as bakeries, distilleries, laundrettes and blocks of flats. 

Exmouth Leisure Centre in Devon is the first site in the country to benefit from heat recapture by cloud data centres. The surplus heat donated to the leisure centre by Deep Green’s unit will reduce the pool’s gas requirements by 62 percent, saving it over £20,000 a year and reducing its carbon emissions by 25.8 tonnes.

There are over 1,500 pools in England alone that could all benefit. Energy costs for leisure facilities have increased 150 percent since 2019 and an estimated 79 percent face closure. 

Using the latest ‘immersion cooling’ technology, Deep Green captures heat from the operating data centre servers, transferring it into the site’s existing hot water system, for free. Around 96 percent of the heat generated by a Deep Green ‘digital boiler’ is recycled.

Jane Nickerson, CEO of Swim England, commented: "At a time when so many swimming pools are struggling with massively increased energy bills, it’s great to see pools embracing innovative solutions like this which have the potential to support facilities to operate more sustainably, both environmentally and economically.”

The installation in Exmouth Leisure Centre contains 12 servers of the highest-grade computer equipment and is able to support a number of computing services such as cloud services, artificial intelligence, machine learning and video rendering. 

The installation in Exmouth will soon be followed by further installations in Bristol and Manchester in the coming weeks. Beyond pools, 30 percent of industrial and commercial heat needs could be provided by this technology.

Mark Bjornsgaard, CEO of Deep Green, said: "Data is critical to modern society and demand for data centres is growing exponentially. However, this comes at a cost. 

“Current data centre infrastructure is inefficient, using a huge amount of energy and generating a vast amount of waste heat. Yet, at the same time, there are many businesses that need heat and face increasing energy bills. 

“By moving data centres from industrial warehouses into the hearts of communities, our ‘digital boilers’ put waste heat to good use, saving local businesses thousands of pounds on energy bills and reducing their carbon footprint. 

“Pools are just the start, and around 30 percent of all industrial and commercial heat needs could be provided by this technology.

“Organisations that are serious about supporting society and reducing their carbon emissions should not forget the massive impact of their computing needs. Deep Green now provides an answer.”

Peter Gilpin, CEO of LED Community Leisure (operator of Exmouth Leisure Centre), commented: "Deep Green’s innovative technology will dramatically reduce our energy bills and carbon footprint, meaning we will continue to be a key asset for the local community. 

“We are already seeing the benefit. I’m certain this will transform leisure centres up and down the country for the better."

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