UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Techno-Economic Analysis of Waste Heat Utilization in Data Centers: Application of Absorption Chiller Systems Amiri, Leyla; Madadian, Edris; Bahrani, Navid; Ghoreishi-Madiseh, Seyed Ali


Modern data centers are playing a pivotal role in the global economic situation. Unlike high-quality source of waste heat, it is challenging to recover the decentralized and low-quality waste heat sourced from data centers due to numerous technological and economic hurdles. As such, it is of the utmost importance to explore possible pathways to maximize the energy efficiency of the data centers and to utilize their heat recovery. Absorption chiller systems are a promising technology for the recovery of waste heat at ultra-low temperatures. In fact, the low temperature heat discharged from data centers cannot be retrieved with conventional heat recovery systems. Therefore, the present study investigated feasibility of waste heat recovery from data centers using an absorption chiller system, with the ultimate goal of electrical energy production. To fulfill this objective, a techno-economic assessment of heat recovery using absorption chiller (AC) technique for the data centers with power consumption range of 4.5 to 13.5 MW is performed. The proposed AC system enables saving electricity for the value of 4,340,000 kWh/year and 13,025,000 kWh/year leading to an annual reduction of 3068 and 9208 tons CO₂ equivalent of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, respectively. The results of this study suggest an optimum change in the design of the data center while reducing the payback period for the investors.

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