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World’s first algae based bio-circular datacenter launches in France

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF

The French have found a new way to generate energy and bio-products from datacenter waste energy.

 

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Data centers produce a lot of waste heat that could one day be recycled and used to heat millions of homes, and swimming pools … Now, French data center company Data4 has partnered with the University of Paris-Saclay to launch a project that aims to use data center heat to grow algae, which can then be recycled and used to create new energy – such as biofuels or biomass which the company can then either use or sell for a profit. The pilot project, set to commence early in 2024, will be trialled in the Paris region.

 

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This initiative, led by a diverse team of experts from various fields, is driven by the French administration “Conseil Départemental de l’Essonne” and the Foundation Université Paris-Saclay. The project comes as a response to the escalating environmental impact of data centers, which have seen a 35% annual increase in data storage worldwide.

The algae grown from the captured CO2 will be recycled into biomass to create new circular energy sources and will also be used in the production of bio-products for other industries.

According to a feasibility study conducted with start-up Blue Planet Ecosystems, the carbon capture efficiency of this method can be 20 times greater than that of a tree.

 

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Data4 says using the data center waste heat for the growth of algae is a more efficient alternative to the common practice of using it to warm nearby homes, which only utilizes 20% of the heat produced.

“This augmented biomass project meets two of the major challenges of our time: food security and the energy transition. This requires close collaboration between all the players in the Essonne region, including Data4, to develop a genuine industrial ecology project, aimed at pooling resources and reducing consumption in the region. Thanks to this partnership with the Fondation de l’Université Paris Saclay, we have the opportunity to draw on one of the world’s most prestigious scientific communities to work towards a common goal of a circular energy economy,” says Linda Lescuyer, Innovation Manager, Data4.

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