The potential to use waste heat from large data centres is limited if computing is not located near where heat is needed. Start-ups are offering innovative decentralised computing solutions in or near homes, offices and other buildings
The aim: To bring together producers of waste heat and their customers
Changing world: “Edge” computing, where computers become more common in everyday objects, from refrigerators to self-driving cars, will boost the viability of ultra-distributed waste heat reuse solutions
Potential benefits: Reduced emissions, lower heating bills, cheaper computing capacity
Key quote: “We can offer banking clients computing capacity at a rate two to four times cheaper than from more conventional sources because infrastructure is minimal and hardware paid for by heating clients, while helping clients reduce their carbon footprint and meet sustainability goals.”
Solutions on the market aimed at bringing together producers of waste heat and their customers include computing heaters and devices containing embedded graphics cards for mining crypto-currencies, such as Bitcoin. These ultra-distributed approaches are gaining some traction, but remain niche. This could change as so-called “edge” computing is adopted with computers becoming more common in everyday objects, from refrigerators to self-driving cars.
“Computing everywhere, computing anywhere,” is the mantra of Qarnot, a small company based outside Paris, France, which has developed computing products that generate heat close to the end user.
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