Deep Green bags £200M to heat ‘hundreds’ of swimming pools with data centre energy

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Deep Green has announced plans to heat between 100-150 swimming pools nationwide using recycled heat from data centres — and just landed a heap of cash to get the job done. 

The London-based startup installs tiny data centres at energy-intensive sites like leisure centre facilities. Its system turns waste heat from the computers into hot water for the site. 

In return, cold water from the centre is used to cool the cloud servers. The idea is that the host site gets free heating generated by Deep Green’s servers processing data, which in turn gets free cooling. 

This gives the startup’s washine machine-sized data centres a significant competitive edge over traditional server rooms which use up to 40% of their energy on cooling alone.

Deep Green says it can heat the pool to 30C for 60% of the time. Credit: Deep Green.

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Deep Green makes its money by selling this energy-efficient computing space to customers in applications including AI, machine learning, video rendering, and cloud applications. 

“The data centre sector is rightly facing scrutiny about its growing energy demand and associated carbon emissions,” said Deep Green founder and CEO Mark Bjornsgaard. “Our data centres are highly energy efficient and support local communities with free heat.”

A public swimming pool in Devon was able to slash its pool-heating bill by over 60% using Deep Green’s system. The tech works by submerging data centre computers in mineral oil, which captures heat from the machines. The output is then processed through a heat exchanger and into the water.

The temperature is only topped up when required. According to Deep Green, the system can cut a pool’s gas needs by over 62%, save £20,000 a year, and slash annual carbon emissions by 25.8 tonnes. This comes at a time when leisure centres and many other power-intensive businesses are struggling to stay afloat amid soaring energy costs. 

Deep Green’s computers are submerged in mineral oil that captures waste heat.
Computers inside the washing machine-sized data centre are surrounded by oil. Credit: Deep Green.

Deep Green now wants to scale up its tech to as many as 150 more swimming pools across the country. It will do this armed with a whopping £200mn investment from energy provider Octopus Energy, announced this week.

Deep Green estimates that if just 1% of the UK’s current data centre demand ran on its servers, it could heat every pool in the country. The technology also has big potential beyond leisure centres.  

“Any organisation with consistent heat needs could make use of our technology,” a company spokesperson told TNW via email. “For example, Deep Green will be looking to deploy in district heat networks in the near future to warm people’s homes.”

And this isn’t just hot air, either. Just such a scheme was announced last year in London, which will see 10,000 new homes connected to nearby data centres to use their waste energy for heating. 

All Deep Green now needs is more customers to make use of its green computing space. “We need more corporates to stop using traditional data centres who throw all that heat away and instead use our servers so we can give free heat to communities up and down the country that need it most,” said the spokesperson.