Editor's Note: This story was originally published by Zoe Kleinman of BBC News. It can be viewed in its original format here.
Deep Green, a company that provides clients computing power for artificial intelligence and machine learning, now provides public swimming pools around England with heat in a revolutionary way. The concept, which was developed over five years ago, is pretty straightforward.
Deep Green’s “digital boiler” is a computer surrounded by mineral oil. The hot oil is pumped into a heat exchanger to warm the water in a swimming pool — enough to heat the pool to 30 degrees Celsius (86 degrees Fahrenheit).
“Data centers have a huge problem with heat,” says Mark Bjornsgaard, founder of Deep Green. “A lot of the money it costs to run data centers is, in fact, taken up in getting rid of the heat. But what we’ve done here is taken a very small bit of a data center and recycled the heat in a useful and helpful way.”
Last summer, BBC News reported that since 2019, 65 swimming pools have closed due to rising energy costs. So when Sean Day, responsible for the Exmouth Leisure Center in Exmouth, United Kingdom, found out about Deep Green’s innovative idea, he jumped on board.
“Our energy and gas prices have gone through the roof, and we had been expecting the leisure center’s energy bills to rise by 100,000 pounds this year,” Day told BBC News. “But this partnership has really helped us to reduce costs in heating our swimming pool, and looking at different ways the center can save money has been awesome.”
Data centers are also being used in other ways: In Danish and Swedish cities, huge data centers power thousands of homes. As long as handled correctly — large data centers can require billions of gallons of water to stay cool, with some being built underwater — they can be helpful to communities looking to save money and be green.