In response to the exponential growth of data center energy consumption, Danfoss decided to build data centers that will be an example for future climate-friendly designs.

”Using the latest technologies for cooling and heat recovery, we transform data centers from energy consumers to sources of sustainable energy,” said Jürgen Fischer, president, Danfoss Climate Solutions. “It is exciting to see that in action at our own data centers.”

Data Centers as Power Plants

An example of data centers as power plants is the Danfoss headquarters in Nordborg, Denmark. In 2015, it was heated 100% by fossil fuel. In 2022, it will be CO2 neutral. And, in 2024, reused excess heat from Danfoss data centers will provide 25% of the overall heat supply for the 2.69 million square feet of factory and office space. 

Location plays a key factor to optimally utilize excess heat. The data center will be near the location of data use and where the local area can benefit from the excess heat. This provides the opportunity to use oil-free heat-pump systems to transform the facility into a heat source. The excess heat from the data center can then be distributed to a local neighborhood, reducing facility energy costs and lowering greenhouse gas emissions.

“The data centers of the future will be hybrid data centers where we combine the best of two worlds: the cloud and the on-site data center,” said Sune Baastrup, CIO, Danfoss. “And we utilize the excess heat in the energy grids close to where it is produced.”

Danfoss is on a digital transformation journey, consolidating 20 global data centers and 135 server rooms into a handful of data centers, which will all be built utilizing green technologies.

“We put words into action,” Baastrup said. “We have managed to build our own climate-friendly data centers, effectively in less than half a year. We want to show that digital transformation and green transition go hand in hand.”

Data centers are consuming vast amounts of energy — energy to supply servers with power but also to remove the heat they generate. It is estimated that 10% of all electricity is used within the IT ecosystem. This makes reducing the climate impact of digitalization a high priority.

Decarbonization of data centers starts from the cooling side. Danfoss has a wide portfolio of products and the expertise needed to reduce direct and indirect CO2 emissions with lower-global warming potential (GWP) refrigerants and energy-effective solutions. Technologies include chillers and heat pumps featuring Danfoss Turbocor technology that allow data centers to be cooled efficiently and recover excess heat.