Datacenter – driftsäkra, energieffektiva och flexibla

Capturing data centre waste heat for Fortum’s district heating in Finland

The world’s largest project utilising waste heat from data centres

Fortum’s heat recovery plants in Espoo and Kirkkonummi, Finland, will recycle the waste heat from Microsoft’s data centres’ server halls into the district heating network. When the waste heat recycle is in operation, it will generate for approximately 40% of Fortum’s district heating capacity in the areas of Espoo, Kauniainen, and Kirkkonummi in Finland. The plants represent the largest project in the world to utilise waste heat from data centres, with AFRY responsible for the project’s EPCM services.

Fortum aims to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030. The use of coal will be phased out in spring 2024. This requires alternative energy production methods, among which the utilisation of waste heat provides a tremendous opportunity. The acceleration of digitalisation and new data centres enable a huge leap towards the carbon neutrality goal as the server halls’ waste heat can be harnessed for district heating. Globally, up to 99% of the waste heat generated by data centres goes unused.

At the intersection of digitalisation and the energy transition

Digitalisation and energy transition come together in the joint project announced by Microsoft and Fortum in 2022. Microsoft is constructing a new data centre area in the capital region of Finland, and Fortum, in turn, is developing heat recovery from the data centres’ server halls into the district heating network.

From a climate and energy efficiency perspective, it's most logical to place large data centres where the waste heat generated from server cooling can be recycled directly into the district heating network for as many customers as possible. Consequently, the location of data centres requires proximity to the district heating network, a sufficiently large site, and access to carbon-neutral electricity with reliable delivery. These requirements come together in the areas of Hepokorpi in Espoo and Kolabacken in Kirkkonummi.

The world’s largest project utilising waste heat from data centres

The heat produced by the Kolabacken and Hepokorpi data centres will provide district heating to about 40% of Fortum’s customers in Espoo, Kirkkonummi, and Kauniainen. Fortum estimates that 2-3% of Finland’s new emission reduction targets can be met with the waste heat from this project.

The plants are the largest of their kind in the world, utilising waste heat from data centers, with a combined thermal power of up to 350 megawatts. The heat recovery plants are scheduled to be completed during the heating season 2025–2026.

Clean energy at the core of AFRY’s strategy

Clean energy is a cornerstone of AFRY’s strategy. The Fortum project is a concrete example of how AFRY contributes to the green transition, supporting our clients’ sustainability goals.

AFRY is responsible for a part of EPCM services of Fortum’s heat recovery plants, including the process, layout, 3D modelling, piping, process electrical, automation design, design management and procurement of Balance of Plant (BOP) systems.

Our project is large in size and significance on a global scale. We wanted a design partner for the project with expertise in district heating plants and large-scale energy production. The extensive experience of AFRY’s experts in power plant projects convinced us to choose them for a key role in the project.

Teemu Nieminen, Director Project Execution, Heating and Cooling Finland at Fortum