The Government wants to encourage industry to identify and invest in opportunities to recover heat and plans to introduce a programme to support this: IHRS – Industrial Heat Recovery Support. This will allow industry to re-use heat on-site or sell it to a third party, leading to higher energy and carbon productivity, lower fuel bills or a new revenue stream. See https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/industrial-heat-recovery-support-programme
The proposals focus on removing barriers, of which there are many for data centre operators, not least the grade of heat, the absence of customers and the unhelpful Heat Networks Directive which adds a further layer of regulatory complexity for those embarking on such an activity.
We provided a very brief response by the deadline of 4th January that set out the main barriers and welcomed ongoing dialogue. Data centres are not currently within the scope of the proposals and discussions within the sector regarding heat re-use are not advanced enough to inform a substantive input to the consultation. However, we made some informal observations and took the opportunity to confirm that this is a topic of interest to the sector and that we would welcome further dialogue if it can help establish whether data centres can make a viable contribution to energy efficiency through heat reuse.
If you are engaged in heat reuse projects within data centres then we would love to hear from you.