Save the planet by colocation data centers and sewage treatment plants • The Register

Tomorrow Water, a subsidiary of the Korean company BKT, aims to make data centers more environmentally friendly by co-locating them with sewage treatment plants, a scheme that it says can save both energy and water.

The idea behind the process is quite simple: heated water from a data center can be used to boost wastewater treatment, requiring less energy, while some of the treated water then becomes cooling water for the data center.

In Korea, Tomorrow Water has now signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Samsung, Dohwa Engineering and BNZ Partners to jointly develop integrated data center and sanitation infrastructure solutions based on this process, which the company calls Co-Flow.

Tomorrow Water already has a partnership in the US with Arcadis, a sustainable design and engineering firm, to evaluate the Co-Flow process and develop similar colocation projects for data centers there.

So if you ever thought the internet was a sewer, you might be wrong.

According to Tomorrow Water, Co-Flow was developed as part of the company’s wider initiatives to colocate and interconnect infrastructure elements such as wastewater treatment, renewable energy generation and data center capacity. The goal is to take advantage of their complementary energy, heat, nutrient and water inputs and outputs to make them more sustainable and affordable for the world’s population, it says.

Part of the solution is BKT’s Proteus wastewater treatment technology, which the company has already used to modernize a wastewater treatment plant at the Jungnang Water Recycling Center in Seoul. This reduced the plant’s overall footprint by 60 percent, according to Tomorrow Water, and the resulting freed up space is where data center buildings could be built if the process were replicated in other locations.

Wick Lane, Trunk Sewers, London

Dark Fibre: Reg man dives into London sewers to watch pipe being laid


Demand for data center space is growing, especially in the US, but also elsewhere in the world. However, according to Tomorrow Water, meeting that demand is thwarted by the lack of usable sites to build data centers in urban centers. Co-Flow creates a win-win scenario by developing data centers within the existing footprint of sewage treatment plants while saving water and energy.

Elsewhere, for example, Microsoft has partnered with Finland’s largest energy company to build a new data center near Helsinki that will heat homes while cooling servers, by transferring waste heat from the data center through existing water pipes to homes and businesses in the surrounding towns of Espoo. and Kauniainen, as well as the Kirkkonummi Municipality.

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