How Will Google’s Finnish Data Centre Heat Reuse Plan Work?

Hamina, where Google plans a data centre heat capture project
Google is spending US$1bn to capture and reuse heat at its data centre in Hamina, Finland, providing power to the local heating network

In a first for the company, Google has launched a project to recover heat generated by its data centre in Hamina, Finland, and recycle it to heat nearby homes and businesses.

The data centre, on the shores of the Gulf of Finland, operates today with carbon-free energy at 97%.

That energy will be captured and redistributed, still 97% carbon-free, to the local community’s heating network.

A Google press release says: “The data centre is going to be both a hub for digital information and a source of sustainable heat for the district.

“In partnership with city-owned energy provider Haminan Energia, we are kicking off our first offsite heat recovery project to reduce our environmental footprint, as well as help warm homes and businesses in this historic port city.”

How Google's heat capture project works

How significant is the project?

According to Google and Haminan Energia, the recycled heat will represent “80% of the annual heat demand of the local district heating network according to Haminan Energia”.

Heat coming out of the data centre will be re-routed and provided free of charge to the district heating network, covering local households, schools and public service buildings.

Ilari Soosalu, the Mayor of Hamina, says: "Google and the city of Hamina have a long and flourishing history together.

“Google is an excellent example of a company with strong sustainable future orientation. It feels good to be the hometown of Google in Finland."

Google's Hamina data centre

Part of a wider plan

To date, the heat from Google’s Hamina data centre has been captured and recovered to heat the offices and buildings on site.

Starting in 2025, Google says, “the warmth coming from the data centre will be recovered to optimise the district heating network energy efficiency and carbon emissions footprint”.

Google says it is aiming to achieve net zero emissions across all of its operations and value chain by 2030.

A key part of this is a clean energy goal to run all its offices and data centres on 24/7 carbon-free energy.

The tech giant says: “This project helps bring us closer to achieving this goal while also supporting Finland’s long-standing commitment to environmental sustainability and technological innovation.”

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Ben Townsend, Google Head of Infrastructure & Sustainability, said: “Very proud to announce Google’s first heat recovery project and an additional €1bn investment at our data centre campus in Hamina, Finland.

“We will be recovering heat at the Google Hamina data centre, which operates today with 97% carbon-free energy.

“Building community partnerships that advance a circular economy is a key success factor on our journey to net zero.”

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