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Using data centre waste heat to dry coffee whilst supplying small-scale farmers with ICT: a novel idea and a case study based on a systems approach

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>12/08/2021
<mark>Journal</mark>Journal of Strategic Innovation and Sustainability
Issue number2
Number of pages14
Pages (from-to)58-71
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


In our research, we address energy consumption of data centres, more than one per cent of the world’s future electrical power. Based on a systems approach, we currently explore commodity drying using data centre waste heat, an idea here presented for the first time to the research community.

Many low- and mid-income countries are producing coffee, which sometimes needs mechanical drying. Using waste heat to dry coffee would be financially appealing. Conversely, if an existing drying facility may be powered by waste heat, this may call for small-scale data centre construction, in turn increasing ICT availability locally or regionally.

Thus, there is a bond between environmental gains and sustainable growth of a community. We therefore investigate both environmental and societal benefits of this idea.

Through a site selection based on a new index, we have chosen Costa Rica for our case study, and arrived to an estimate for its data centre waste heat drying capability. We also discuss our findings in relation to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).