Revolutionising Energy Efficiency: Queen Mary Uni’s Unique Data Centre Heat Strategy

Queen Mary University of London has announced the commencement of an innovative refurbishment project for the Joseph Priestley Building, which serves as the university’s Tier 2 computing facility. This facility is a crucial asset for particle physics research at CERN. The project extends far beyond mere upgrades. It introduces a cutting-edge system designed to capture the waste heat produced by the data centre and transform it into clean, usable hot water, achieving temperatures as high as 75°C. This renewable energy will be integrated into the existing campus district heating system. The system is expected to supply heat and hot water to on-site residential and academic buildings.

This high-grade hot water will be seamlessly integrated into existing plumbing systems, including taps and heating systems, significantly reducing reliance on conventional gas boilers and, as a result, fossil fuels.

Work is set to commence shortly, and the data centre is anticipated to be offline for three months, with full operations resuming by October. Initial work began in April. Professor Jonathan Hays, the head of the Particle Physics Research Centre, stated, “This project is more than just about enhancing our data centre’s efficiency or replacing old equipment. “We are actively working to reduce our environmental impact. By capturing waste heat, we can significantly reduce our reliance on gas boilers, substantially reducing CO2 emissions.”

The Priestley building’s new heat recovery system is anticipated to be fully operational by October 2024, in preparation for the upcoming heating season.


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