Danfoss, Hewlett Packard Enterprise Partnering on Data Center Modules, Heat Recovery

June 25, 2024
Energy demand from the AI industry could rise by a factor of 10 over last year’s consumption rate. HPE and Danfoss say they’ve designed the new solution to provide heat reuse modules and HPE’s scalable modular data center containers.

Future power load forecast by the exponential growth in data center and artificial intelligence (AI) capacity wields a double-edged sword for utilities, combined heat and power generators and microgrid developers. 

A report by Goldman Sachs recently estimated some 47 GW of coming data center construction in the U.S. over the next decade. This will increase load demand for both electricity and heat recovery technologies by many terawatt hours (TWh) or thousands of gigawatt hours.

It sounds like money in the data bank, but it also presents huge infrastructural challenges. Data centers generate tremendous amounts of heat. 

Earlier this month, tech firm Hewlett Packard Enterprise and global equipment manufacturing company Danfoss announced plans to collaborate on a heat recovery module called HPE IT Sustainability Services.

Energy efficiency experts see excess heat as “the world’s largest untapped energy source,” and a method to achieve greater efficiency, according to a company document. Excess heat in the European Union alone totals close to 2,860 TWh per year, according to reports.

"Together, we are not just adding value; we are multiplying it," Sue Preston, vice president and general manager, for WW Advisory, Professional and Managed Services at HPE, said. "By harnessing the typically untapped resource of waste heat, turning waste into worth, showing the future of energy usage is efficient, intelligent and, most importantly, achievable now."

At the same time, energy demand from the AI industry could rise by a factor of 10 over last year’s consumption rate. HPE and Danfoss say they’ve designed the new solution to provide heat reuse modules and HPE’s scalable modular data center containers.

“Our strategic partnership with HPE is a great example of how we revolutionize building and decarbonizing the data center industry together with customers,” Jurgen Fischer, president of Danfoss Climate Solutions, said in a statement. “With this latest cross-industry partnership we’re building the blueprint for the next generation of sustainable data centers—using technologies available today.”

Danfoss already utilizes heat reuse technology at its own headquarters campus in Denmark. The heat is recovered from Danfoss’ on-site data center and circulated by a heat pump to other nearby buildings for space heating. More on data center cooling here.

Heating and cooking in residential and commercial buildings accounts for 6% of global carbon dioxide emissions, according to research firm McKinsey.

Danfoss already produces grid converter-power conversion technologies used to facilitate smart grid interconnection with battery storage assets and microgrids.

The once and future energy demands of the data center and AI sectors will be part of the content at the upcoming and inaugural Data Center Frontier Trends Summit happening Sept. 4-6 in Reston, Virginia. The same issues will be front and center at the next Microgrid Knowledge Conference next April 15-17 in Dallas.

Data Center Frontier and Microgrid Knowledge are both part of Endeavor Business Media.

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About the Author

Rod Walton, Managing Editor | Managing Editor

For Microgrid Knowledge editorial inquiries, please contact Managing Editor Rod Walton at [email protected].

I’ve spent the last 15 years covering the energy industry as a newspaper and trade journalist. I was an energy writer and business editor at the Tulsa World before moving to business-to-business media at PennWell Publishing, which later became Clarion Events, where I covered the electric power industry. I joined Endeavor Business Media in November 2021 to help launch EnergyTech, one of the company’s newest media brands. I joined Microgrid Knowledge in July 2023. 

I earned my Bachelors degree in journalism from the University of Oklahoma. My career stops include the Moore American, Bartlesville Examiner-Enterprise, Wagoner Tribune and Tulsa World, all in Oklahoma . I have been married to Laura for the past 33-plus years and we have four children and one adorable granddaughter. We want the energy transition to make their lives better in the future. 

Microgrid Knowledge and EnergyTech are focused on the mission critical and large-scale energy users and their sustainability and resiliency goals. These include the commercial and industrial sectors, as well as the military, universities, data centers and microgrids. The C&I sectors together account for close to 30 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S.

Many large-scale energy users such as Fortune 500 companies, and mission-critical users such as military bases, universities, healthcare facilities, public safety and data centers, shifting their energy priorities to reach net-zero carbon goals within the coming decades. These include plans for renewable energy power purchase agreements, but also on-site resiliency projects such as microgrids, combined heat and power, rooftop solar, energy storage, digitalization and building efficiency upgrades.

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