We keep hearing that winter is coming, so we might as well prepare for it. Dutch startup Nerdalize suggests to replace radiators with heat-producing data servers.
The Nerdalize eRadiator, as the Dutch company named its brainchild, is what others call a data furnace. In other words, behind the radiator looks there is a small server that generates up to 1000 watts of heating.
Tech giants know that maintaining a data center can often be a nightmare, due to all the heat that needs to be dissipated, so that the servers run properly. Nerdalize has figured that all that excess heat could be put to good use, and looked to a target audience that needs it: common householders.
There are two per-requisites to getting an eRadiator (well, three, if you also take money into consideration). Householders need to have a fiber-optic connection, as well as an external wall. Since this is basically a data server, it’s pretty obvious what the fiber-optic connection might be needed for. As for the external wall, it is required for dissipating the heat when it is not needed inside the house. That’s right, people are giving the option to turn off the eRadiator, case in which the server keeps going. Come to think of it, if people couldn’t turn it off, it would be impossible to stay indoors during the summer.
This is not the first time a company is considering using the heat generated by data servers to warm up something. The concept has also been studied by Microsoft Research, who also published a research paper about it, back in 2011. Three years earlier, in 2008, IBM used the waste heat generated by a data center in Zurich to heat a swimming pool in a nearby town. Nerdalize just proves that this could also be done at a smaller scale.
For the time being, only Dutch people can have a Nerdalize eRadiator set up inside their homes, and the whole operation costs between €400 and €500 ($440 to $550). It takes less than a year for the investment to return, which is pretty spectacular. Hopefully, the Nerdalize data furnace will find its way to other European countries, as most people with a fiber-optic connection wouldn’t mind hosting a data server in exchange for heat.
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