Here's A Thought: Data Centres Near Gas Storage Sites

Why This Company Wants To Build Data Centres Next To Gas Storage Sites

One problem with data centres is excess heat. The problem with liquified natural gas terminals is excess cold. In a perfect world, one problem would neatly cancel out the other — which is exactly the world imagined by Massachusetts-based TeraCool. Coupling data with liquified gas could make a lot of energy sense.

Republished from Gizmodo

Data centre operators have flocked to naturally cold places like Finland and Sweden to cut down on energy costs. But what about unnaturally cold places that just happen to have excess cold?

You're probably less familiar with liquid natural gas terminals, which receive drums of liquified natural gas and heat them to a pipeline-ready gas state. Liquified gas cooled to -162C is 600 times denser, making for efficient transportation over long distances, but it also takes a lot of heat to get it back to gas form.

Why This Company Wants To Build Data Centres Next To Gas Storage Sites

Illustration via TeraCool

So that's two problems, or if you look at it another way, two solutions. TeraCool want to put data centres and LNG terminals in the same location, circulating heat through the two systems with a liquid coolant.

But the hard part is, of course, convincing these two very different industries to collaborate together. TeraCool is still looking for a data centre willing to relocate next to a LNG terminal. It's not unprecedented though. "Industrial ecology" is all about looking at the flow of materials and energy through industrial systems, and the flow does not have to go only one way. Heat from data centres is already used to warm buildings. Excess cool from LNG terminals is used for industrial gasses to freeze food. Someday, data centres and LNG might live side by side. [IEEE Spectrum, Datacenter Dynamics]

Picture: A data centre in New York. AP Photo/Mark Lennihan


    have you ever seen one of these gas centres explode?? there was one in the US last year or so.. its huge.. isn't it kinda like putting fox next to a hen..its never going to end well.

      They don't all blow up, look at Curtis Island, I think it has one or two there but nothing bad yet

        There are 3 side by side but none have come online yet

          Yeah I know, I'm heading out there soon for a week contract. Going to be staying at dongas :-(

      If you we're co-locating, say, a gas terminal and a bombing range then your comment would be valid. Otherwise, it's like saying 'cities shouldn't be built on land as there are earthquakes'

    Its a valid point about the danger of explosion, just as building a city on a fault line is an issue. But if they regulated that the actual data centre infrastructure was outside a possible blast radius, then the issue would be economical and efficient piping from one to the other.

    That is quite an interesting concept I think! And it would definitely save both industries a fair amount of money if it could be done. Now we just have to convince some head honchos to set up a storage space to give this a test run…

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