When Facebook announced the construction of its Odense Data Center in 2017, they were determined to build one of the most advanced, energy-efficient data centers in the world. The new facility will feature the latest hyper-efficient hardware, which uses outdoor air with indirect evaporative cooling technology and is powered by clean, renewable wind energy.

This facility will also be unique because of infrastructure that will capture and recycle excess heat generated by the servers to provide heat to the local community. The energy recovered from the servers will be recycled by a newly constructed heat pump facility that is supported by 100% renewable energy. This energy will then be directed into the local district heating system operated by Fjernvarme Fyn.

This heat recovery project is part of an ongoing commitment to innovation and efficiency and will support the city’s ambitious goal of phasing out coal by 2025, which is years ahead of Denmark’s national goal to phase out coal by 2030. Facebook worked closely with Fjernvarme Fyn early on, identifying efficiencies in project design from the start. Proximity to the local heat distribution grid minimizes additional infrastructure and will ultimately enable the facility to achieve more efficient heat production.

While Facebook typically designs servers to minimize the heat they create, in Odense they direct this heated air over water coils, recovering the heat by raising the temperature of the water. This warm water is then delivered to the heat pump facility where the temperature is raised further, delivered to the district heating network, and distributed to the local community.

Once completed, the facility’s heat recovery infrastructure will help recover 100,000 MWh of energy per year — enough to warm 6,900 homes.

The ability to recycle and repurpose heat from servers is unique to Facebook’s Odense data center, and it couldn’t have been accomplished without Fjernvarme Fyn and its district heating network.