Data centers are what make the world go round. These facilities, containing endless rows of server racks, store a gargantuan chunk of the world’s data and information; it’s not surprising that the computer server manufacturing industry alone brings in a cool $14 billion in annual revenues.
At the same time, data centers are major energy consumers, with some large-scale centers using as much energy at peak usage as a small town. With all this energy comes untold amounts of waste heat, a massive resource that has largely gone untapped so far.
This is slowly changing, however. Recently, a Dutch company used waste heat from its data centers to heat residential homes. And now, the Cleveland, OH-based Foundry Project plans to build an underground data center whose heat will help warm a fish farm.
According to a June 11 ZDNet article, the waste heat generated by the Foundry Project’s 20,000-square-foot data center will maintain a temperature of 73.6 degrees Fahrenheit in its aquaculture facility designed to farm Mediterranean sea bass.
When completed, the fully sustainable Northcoast Fish Farm will produce 500,000 pounds of Mediterranean sea bass each year — about 5% of current U.S. imports of the fish. Foundry Project founders expect the data center and fish farm will be in full operation by mid-2016.
But when companies have seemingly endless options when it comes to choosing a data center, why choose the Foundry Project’s? For one, the site of the data center is located at the meeting point of three different 100 Gigabit fiber networks, giving it easy access to high-performance networks.
Both the fish farm and data center play an integral role in the Foundry Project’s overall mission, which is to create a complete, sustainable ecosystem within an urban setting. All fish waste from the Northcoast Fish Farm will be used to fertilize plants and crops at Northcoast Orchards, for example. The project also plans to construct a sheep farm, farmer’s market, live fish brokerage and an arts and tech incubator, ZDNet reports.