Data centre waste heat : applications, societies, metrics

Terenius, Petter and Harper, Richard and Garraghan, Peter (2024) Data centre waste heat : applications, societies, metrics. PhD thesis, Lancaster University.

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Abstract

In the near future, a few percent of world electricity may be needed to power data centres around the world. This energy ultimately becomes waste heat, and the thesis investigates ways to use it. But for selected uses in cold regions, previous research has not addressed this issue. Neither have the growing data needs of low-income countries been discussed much from an environmental perspective. The thesis argues there exists a bond between technology, societal progress and environmental sustainability, and that this bond can be used to solve the energy problems of the rapidly growing data centre industry. In fact, a society in need of data exchange and a planet unable to cope with unsustainable energy use turn out to be good bed-fellows, as an evidently holistic problem calls for an equally holistic, systems science-based solution. Through three cases studies (Malaysia, Costa Rica, Sweden), research is carried out relating to dehydration of commodities such as coffee beans, wooden pellets and seaweed, as well as to energy storage solutions. The concepts are then evaluated using a developed analytical framework and novel data centre energy efficiency metrics. The work is underpinned by a literature review, interviews and ethnographic studies. Crucial to the evaluation has been the possibility to compare the three contrasting cases, where the Arctic meets the tropics and where city meets countryside. The results show that a systems science-based view and a high-level metric open up new possibilities for data centre waste heat use worldwide.

Item Type:
Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords:
Research Output Funding/yes_internally_funded
Subjects:
?? data centrewaste heatmaterial social studiescircular economycommodity dehydrationyes - internally fundedsdg 9 - industry, innovation, and infrastructuresdg 7 - affordable and clean energysdg 11 - sustainable cities and communitiessdg 13 - climate actionsd ??
ID Code:
220127
Deposited By:
Deposited On:
21 May 2024 10:45
Refereed?:
No
Published?:
Published
Last Modified:
21 Jun 2024 23:39