Eneco and Nerdalize start trials with server heating in households

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Start-up Nerdalize, together with energy supplier Eneco, has started a trial to install a ‘server heating’ in the living room of five households. Nerdalize lets the eRadiator calculate, whereby the house is heated ‘for free’.

The first server heating is installed in a house in Nieuwpoort. The hardware was developed by the start-up Nerdalize. The heating system, whose housing was developed by a design agency, uses the residual heat from a number of Xeon processors to heat the immediate environment. The installation would supply approximately 1 kW of power; according to Eneco and Nerdalize, sufficient to heat a living room. The server design does not contain any fans. The hardware, about which the company does not want to reveal much, is passively cooled.

Nerdalize pays for the end user the costs of the electricity consumed, whereby the company purchases the green electricity from Eneco. Eneco states that an average household is expected to save 400 euros annually on its gas bill. The trial in five households, which will last approximately nine months, should provide more insight into the savings that can actually be achieved.

The available computing power in the eRadiator system is linked to a cloud service via the internet. Nerdalize sells this decentrally distributed computing power to companies and research institutes. The start-up states that with this set-up it can reduce costs for large computational projects by 30 to 55 percent compared to providers such as Amazon and Google, citing research by the Leiden Institute of Advanced Computing Science. The cost savings are achieved because there is no longer a need to build and manage a physical data center, including the energy-hungry cooling installations. In addition, the residual heat is not only used for calculation jobs, but also for direct heating.

With the current design of the eRadiator, the heating system must be mounted on an outside wall. In the summer, when no heating is required, the residual heat can easily be discharged outside. Nerdalize, together with Eneco, is examining whether other heat removal methods are also suitable. Another condition is that homes have a fast internet connection, preferably fiber optic. This is the case at the five homes where the two companies are now conducting tests.

Nerdalize runs virtualized calculation jobs on its servers. To do this, it uses Docker, an open source container system that makes it possible to move virtualized applications at lightning speed, if necessary. In addition to performing commercial calculation jobs, the start-up wants to spend unsold calculation time on, among other things, medical research.

Eneco also announces that it has acquired a minority share in Nerdalize. The energy company says it sees a lot of potential in the eRadiator, while Nerdalize has indicated that it wants to see whether its heating concept can be applied on a larger scale, for example in the business community.

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