A supercomputer to heat houses in northern Finland
23.10.2020 – The efficient heat recovery system of the LUMI supercomputer will be optimised using a digital twin. In other data centres, too, there is a lot of unused potential in terms of waste heat utilisation.
One of the most powerful computers in the world, the LUMI supercomputer, is being set up in Kajaani, northern Finland. It will carry out high-performance computing for European universities, research institutes and companies.
Ilari Kauppi, Group Manager at Granlund, explains that the heat generated by the supercomputer will be efficiently recovered through liquid cooling.
“The heat generated by the supercomputer is transferred from the computing circuits directly to the liquid. The water temperature is then further increased by heat pumps to meet the needs of the district heating network. Once the thermal energy in the water has been released, the cool water returns to the cooling system.”
LUMI will be making a contribution to the fight against climate change. The aim is to have snow in Kajaani in the future as well.
Up to 60 gigawatt-hours of heat will be generated annually, which is enough to heat hundreds of houses in the Kainuu region. The total district heating production of the local energy company Loiste is 280 gigawatt-hours per year.
“The CO2 emissions from Kajaani’s district heating production will decrease by 12,000 tonnes per year. In addition, the utilisation of waste heat helps the energy company reduce the use of non-renewable fuels in district heating.”
In addition to the general district heating network, waste heat will also be utilised in the local network of the supercomputer location, which is an old mill site.
“LUMI will be making a contribution to the fight against climate change. The aim is to have snow in Kajaani in the future as well.”
CSC’s development manager Jukka-Pekka Partanen estimates that efficient heat recovery was one of the factors that influenced the decision to locate a European supercomputer in Kajaani.
In addition, the site has access to environmentally friendly hydropower. Kajaani’s other strengths include the region’s existing infrastructure, as well as the socially and geologically stable conditions of Finland.
“The government-owned CSC has an obligation to act responsibly, sustainably and as environmentally friendly as possible. In addition, the energy company naturally pays for the heat it receives. Thanks to heat recovery, high-performance computing can be carried out quite cost-efficiently.”
The supercomputer will be located in the vicinity of the Kajaani data centre of CSC.
Maximum energy efficiency through simulation
What is also groundbreaking in Granlund’s cooling solution for the LUMI supercomputer is that it has been designed with the help of simulation. Through simulation the system can be optimised to run as energy-efficiently as possible.
However, this is just one of the many benefits of simulation, says Tommi Karhela from Semantum Oy, who performed the modelling.
“Simulation is useful for finding the suitable equipment for the system, commissioning the system and testing fault situations. By running the simulated and real systems in parallel, we can discover latent fault situations and carry out various virtual measurements. The simulator, or the so-called digital twin, can also be used to run various ‘what if’ scenarios to help operate the system better.”
Similar dynamic simulations have been carried out in the past in, for example, the process industry, nuclear power plants and conventional power plants. Data centre cooling systems are a new and interesting area of application.
Technology has advanced and equipment prices have fallen.
Setting an example
Kauppi hopes that the example set by the LUMI supercomputer would encourage other data centres to operate in a more environmentally friendly way.
There is a huge potential in the utilisation of waste heat, both in water-cooled and air-cooled data centres.
“Technology has advanced and equipment prices have fallen. The new heat pumps using HFO refrigerants are not only climate-friendly and ozone-safe, but also highly efficient.”
Kauppi thinks that people have become aware of the situation – to a certain degree, at least. The forthcoming electricity tax reform is also likely to encourage the utilisation of waste heat.
“Data centres that utilise waste heat in their operations will be in the lowest electricity tax category.”
Kauppi estimates that up to one terawatt-hour of heat could be recovered annually in Finland’s data centres.
“By way of comparison, Turku Energia’s annual district heating sales are about three terawatt-hours.”
The virtual conference for the European data center industry will be held virtually 10th-12th November 2020. Talk to Ilari Kauppi on our roundtable session and hear more about heat recovery solutions in data centers. Register here!
Want to hear more?
Meet us at BIM World MUNICH 2023
17.11.2023 – Granlund attends the BIM World MUNICH at Finnish pavilion.
Nordic SCANVAC Award to Pekka Metsi
31.10.2023 – SCANVAC grants every second year private individuals, companies or organizations in the Nordic countries that have made outstanding contributions in…
Finnish expertise supports Romania in renewing its hospitals
21.08.2023 – Integrated Hospital Design Alliance (IHDA), the alliance that brings together Finnish experts in hospital design and construction, is involved in…
A good BIM model improves data centre usability
03.08.2023 – Building information modelling (BIM) helps in the scheduling of projects, among other things, and offers the opportunity for cost calculation…
Granlund to become one company in Finland – prepares to go global
12.06.2023 – Granlund is reorganising its Finnish organisation, with the Group’s 12 subsidiaries to merge with the parent company on 31 October…
Survey: The lack of high-quality data is an obstacle to digitalization in the construction and real estate sector
26.05.2023 – The digitalization of the real estate and construction sector requires investment and change has been slow, according to a survey…
DD report helps manage the risks of real estate business in care properties
14.04.2023 – As a result of the health and social services reform, the ownership of care and public sector properties is increasingly…
Granlund is back on the strong growth track, with an 18.5% increase in net sales
14.02.2023 – The year 2022 was very profitable for Granlund. The Group returned to a strong growth track after the years slowed…
The building services sector is transformed by innovating together
25.01.2023 – Granlund’s new Innovation Director Heikki Ihasalo considers the renewal of the building services sector to be inevitable. Operating methods change…