Waste heat from supercomputer to warm UK homes

The University of Edinburgh’s Advanced Computing Facility could use excess energy to heat around 5,000 households in Scotland’s capital

The University of Edinburgh is exploring the possibility of repurposing excess energy from its Advanced Computing Facility (ACF) to heat around 5,000 households in Scotland‘s capital.

The ACF, a hub for critical research activities, currently generates large amounts of energy, with the potential to contribute to sustainable heating solutions for residential areas.

The initiative, part of a £2.6 million feasibility study, aims to cool the supercomputers and transfer the captured heat into disused mine water.

The heated water would then be distributed to homes via heat pump technology.

If successful, this approach could provide a model for utilising excess heat from various sources to meet residential heating needs in an environmentally friendly manner.

Lead academic on the project, Professor Christopher McDermott, from the University of Edinburgh’s School of Geosciences, said: “This project opens up the potential for extracting heat stored in mine water more broadly.

“Most disused coal mines are flooded with water, making them ideal heat sources for heat pumps. With more than 800,000 households in Scotland in fuel poverty, bringing energy costs down in a sustainable way is critical, and using waste heat could be a gamechanger.”

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