UK startup Deep Green has announced its use of “UK-first” “digital boiler” technology to heat businesses with “consistent heat needs” for free – including swimming pools, apartment blocks, distilleries, laundrettes, and bakeries.
Simply put, the technology is a cloud data center submerged in mineral oil that transforms surplus heat from its servers into hot water.
In the case of the first pilot site, Exmouth Leisure Centre in Devon, Deep Green’s contributions will reduce the gas requirements of its swimming pool by 62%. Carbon emissions are set to be reduced by 25.8 tonnes and the business could save around £20,000 a year.
The cost of data centers
The economic downturn continues to threaten businesses reliant on heavy energy consumption. An estimated 79% of the UK’s 1,500-plus swimming pools face closure, thanks to energy costs rising by 150% since 2019, and Mark Bjornsgaard, CEO of Deep Green, knows things need to change.
“Data is critical to modern society and demand for data centers is growing exponentially,” Bjornsgaard said. “However, this comes at a cost. Current data center infrastructure is inefficient, using a huge amount of energy and generating a vast amount of waste heat.”
To this end, “around 96%” of the heat generated by a Deep Green digital boiler is recycled.
“Pools are just the start, and around 30% of all industrial and commercial heat needs could be provided by this technology,” the CEO added.
Peter Gilpin, CEO of LED Community Leisure, the operator of Exmouth Leisure Centre, is equally convinced by the move. He claims the site is already seeing the benefit of a “dramatic” reduction in energy bills, and believes the technology could transform the UK’s leisure industry in the long-term.
Beyond Exmouth, Deep Green hopes to open installations in Bristol and Manchester in the next few weeks.
It’s worth noting that, while “digital boilers” may be a “UK-first” for businesses, others have already brought the technology into the home. In February 2023, TechRadar Pro reported (opens in new tab) that green distributed compute network Heata was using similar technology to provide free hot water to homes in South East England.
We said it then and we’ll say it now: businesses can use ‘innovation’ to mitigate the cost of living crisis, but it won’t address the root causes, and it won’t entirely solve the broader issues at play.