Octopus Energy invests £200m in data centre heat recycling technology

In the past decade alone, the number of internet users has doubled, according to the International Energy Agency.

The energy giant is partnering with London-based technology disruptor Deep Green, which has developed small-scale edge data centres that divert and re-use their excessive heat to warm public swimming pools.

In return, the technology provides Deep Green with free cooling and a competitive edge over traditional data centres to provide more affordable and energy-efficient computing to businesses across the UK.

Octopus Energy Generation’s chief executive officer Zoisa North-Bond said: “To tackle the energy crisis head-on, we need innovative solutions to unusual problems.

“By using excess heat from data centres to slash energy bills for communities across the UK, Deep Green solves two problems with one solution. We’re looking forward to rapidly rolling this out and positively impacting even more people as we drive towards a cleaner, cheaper energy future.”

The technology involves immersing Deep Green’s computers in biodegradable mineral oil, which captures the heat from the computers. The oil then is transferred into a cold pool of water using a heat exchanger.

The data centres are installed on-site. This allows the technology to function without additional grid upgrades or planning permission.

Last year, Exmouth Leisure Centre in Devon partnered with DeepGreen, resulting in a 60% reduction in its pool heating bill.

The technology company provides data centre processing to its customers, including York University, Civo and Alces Flight, for a range of uses including artificial intellifence (AI), machine learning, video rendering or cloud applications.

Deep Green’s chief executive officer Mark Bjornsgaard said: “We are thrilled with Octopus’s commitment to support our next phase of growth. Placing data centres within the fabric of society transforms the waste heat they produce into a valuable resource that benefits communities.

“The data centre sector is rightly facing scrutiny about its growing energy demand and associated carbon emissions. Our data centres are highly energy efficient and support local communities with free heat.”

The investment is made via Octopus’s dedicated Octopus Energy Transition Fund (OETF) and its Energy Generation’s Sky (ORI SCSp) fund, designed to accelerate the green energy transition.

Since the introduction of the fund last year, Octopus has invested in the heat pump company Kensa Group, in an effort to scale companies decarbonising fast-growing sectors including heating, storage and low carbon transport.

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie