• Atlantean Media

Grub’s up for circular economy data centres

Usually the worlds of modern data centres and maggots do not collide.

One involves ultra-secure, clean high-tech facilities with state-of-the-art technology. The other, waste eating grubs that have a similar reputation to cockroaches and are normally associated with rotting food.

Yet, as part of the recent pursuit for a more ‘circular economy’, these two very different industries could well come together.

Utility Yorkshire Water, which supplies 1.3 billion litres of clean water and wastewater services to two million homes daily, is in the process of creating a hub to bring together different industries who wouldn’t normally interact with each other.

Back scratching

The Esholt site is the utility’s second largest works, treating wastewater from 750,000 customers in Bradford and Leeds. Plans are in place to turn the 120-hectare site into what is being named a “circular economy cluster”.

Heat, power, potable/sub-potable water and nutrients will be available to commercial partners on site. Imagine a ‘you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours’ situation but where energy, heat, water and nutrients are brokered between site host Yorkshire Water and neighbouring companies.

One idea is to bring together the data centre, water treatment and scientific community together. A heating network could be developed which could take excess, low grade heat from a data centre located onsite. This company would receive a revenue for the heat but also have access to power and water for cooling, potentially even reclaimed water. In return, the utility would be able to use the data centre.

“We’re not a data storage business and yet we have data centres,” says Jon Brigg, manager of innovation at Yorkshire Water.

“One way of this working would be we produce information from our operations which is protected securely in a data centre, right on our doorstep and in return we provide those utility service needed to run such an operation.”


- This article was written for Future-tech and the full version is available to read here: