Equinix has announced it is taking part in a new initiative to develop a heating network for Frankfurt’s Griesheim district utilising data centre waste heat.
The project will be in collaboration with housing company Vonovia, engineering company AS Enterprise, and investment advisor and asset manager EB-SIM.
The project aims to provide around 1,000 households with surplus heat generated by local Equinix data centres, free of charge, from 2025. This initiative, which is connected to Equinix’s FR4, FR6 and FR8 sites, will avoid local fossil fuel combustion and support lower CO2 emissions.
Jens-Peter Feidner, Managing Director for Germany at Equinix, explained: “This project demonstrates how data centres can give back to their local community, and is a perfect example of the benefits created by collaboration between governments, investors, urban planners, housing companies, heating network providers and data centre operators.
“We are hoping this project will spark interest with other potential partners, as Equinix is eager to explore sharing the recoverable heat at its sites for local benefit in the many markets it operates.”
Equinix’s global strategy is to be climate neutral across its data centre operations by 2030, aligned to an approved near-term science-based target (SBT).
Feidner added: “With planned legislation proposing strict regulations around how much surplus heat must be repurposed by data centres, policymakers need to consider a holistic approach that involves all actors needed to realise such projects. Failing to do so would only weaken an industry crucial for digitisation.”
Equinix has several waste heat reuse initiatives across Europe, including a recently expanded district heating project in Finland with project partner energy company Helen.
Equinix’s PA10 data centre in Paris, PA10 also houses a system to recover the heat produced by Equinix customer equipment, transferring it to the Plaine Saulnier urban development zone and the Olympic Aquatic Centre. Equinix has agreed to provide this heat free of charge for a period of 15 years.
Hesse’s Minister for Digital Strategy and Innovation, Prof. Dr. Kristina Sinemus, said of the initiative, “Hessen is one of the leading states in the information and communications industry and one of the strongest locations for data centres not only in Germany, but throughout Europe. Efficiency, sustainability and costs for energy are key location factors and saving energy is already in the data centre operators’ own interest, as consumption must be reduced and excess heat used effectively. Together with our data centre office, we want to help strengthen Hessen as a location for innovative and sustainable data centres, ensure that it is future-proof and thus make a contribution to achieving sustainability and climate goals. In Hessen, we successfully rely on dialogue and incentives instead of coercion and overregulation.”