Decarbonising data centres and batch compute

Apr 19, 2022

Decarbonising data centres and batch compute

Apr 19, 2022

Bitcoin mining regularly gets bad press for high levels of electricity use, with a Cambridge University index[1] currently ranking it just above Egypt at an annual power consumption of 135TWh. Crypto mining is the thin end of the wedge – the same study puts data centres even higher at 200TWh, the level of South Africa. And these numbers are only going up.

As a byproduct of doing useful work processors convert energy into ‘waste’ heat, which then requires 50 percent more energy to remove via air conditioning. Making use of this heat is the best route to improving data centre sustainability.

The typical image of a data centre is a vast warehouse with racks of servers pushing out products and services to the global population’s phones and laptops. But this instantaneous communication is less than half of the data centre market, with 60% now taken up by data processing – much of which does not need to be done in real-time and so is collated and run in batches.

Bringing sustainability to your batch compute

There are two market forces shaping batch compute: the outsourcing of processing by companies and organisations to the cloud to reduce overhead costs and take advantage of economies of scale; secondly the spreading of managed cloud services across many physical locations creating a distributed cloud architecture.

Batch compute that is not time sensitive can make the most of the efficiencies of the cloud, which is where heata comes in. Heata is building a distributed server network with custom hardware that uses waste heat to provide hot water. The heata units are the worker nodes in a Kubernetes environment, managed and secured using SUSE Rancher.

With the UK aiming to reach net zero emissions by 2050, and a carbon tax a strong likelihood in the near future, it’s clear that all types of businesses and organisations need to bring greater sustainability to all aspects of their operations.

We work with companies and data centres to reduce the carbon footprint of their offline batch cloud compute

What kind of batch compute works with heata?

Put simply, any type of compute that doesn’t require real-time processing can be run on the heata network. Here are some key examples:

  • In silico drug research and protein folding
  • DNA sequencing
  • Image rendering and media transcoding
  • Engineering and science simulations
  • Financial risk simulations
  • Climate modelling

How does heata work?

  1. A powerful compute server is attached to domestic hot water cylinders.
  2. The processing power is rented out to organisations who have compute workloads.
  3. The heat generated by the processing is transferred into the water in the cylinder.

Once installed, a heata unit generates about 80% of an average household’s hot water by re-using heat that would otherwise be emitted into the atmosphere by a data centre.

Run your batch compute through heata

Processing on the heata network can become part of your ongoing Environmental Management System, such as ISO 14001, and also offer significant CSR benefits, through supporting families in fuel poverty with free hot water.

Ready to run your workloads on the heata network and turn waste heat into hot water for households that need it? Get in touch to see how we could work together.



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