Startup to heat homes with computer servers instead of gas

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Home radiator heating provided by a data server from Delft startup Nerdalize. 2015. (photo: Nerdalize)

Dutch company Nerdalize is initiating a project of combining computing power and home heating services. The idea behind the project is in placing computing servers into private households instead of locating them at conventional data centers, and using the heat generated by the device to heat the houses as an alternative to natural gas heating systems.

In the beginning, households would get to use the server placed in their homes for three years. Nerdalize in turn covers the electricity costs incurred by the household. Boaz Leupe, one of the co-founders of Nerdalize, told NL Times that it would allow for annual cost savings of 300 to 500 euros per customer. Currently, the implementation is in a trial period, and the servers are loaned to homeowners free of charge.

The company wants to cut down overhead costs associated with usage of space for a data center and cooling mechanisms needed to deal with the heat produced by servers. That would cut the cost of computer server services by an average of 35 to 50 percent, Nerdalize claims.

The project is corroborated by several public and private institutions. It is launched in cooperation with the energy company Eneco, which supplies the servers.

Nerdalize is itself housed at YES!Delft, a large technological incubator at Delft University. The initiative is a part of Climate Kic, an EU public-private partnership focused on climate innovation. The company also received a government loan of a quarter of a million euros in support of the initiative, Leupe said.