A lot of trucks are coming and going all the time, but growers do not often see a data center coming by. Except for last week, because a data center has been placed with a grower in Venlo (Netherlands) to, after some preparations, provide heat for the tomatoes. It involves a data center in a container for a pilot of the start-up BlockHeating.
The set-up placed will contain a maximum of 60 kilowatt of IT, making this test container significantly smaller than the intended 200kW, according to Jeroen Burks of BlockHeating. "This does enable us to try some aspects in the field. The focus is on supplying heat to more than 10 hectares of tomatoes.
Heat directly in buffer tank
The heat is delivered to the grower via water. It is water of about sixty degrees Celsius delivered directly into the grower's buffer tank. This is less warm than residual heat from the industry, but it is more than enough to heat the greenhouses. It is important to limit the distance to the greenhouse, that is why there are flexible data centers.
Growers do not have to fear extra tubing or piping. Jeroen: "With minimal adjustments we realize a reduction in the energy use for the grower, and opportunities to make steps towards cultivation without the use of gas."
2019: first unit operational
After the pilot in Venlo, the intention is to realize a pilot with 200 kilowatt in a larger container. "The goal is to have the first unit, built by a partner specialized in building data centers in containers, operational in 2019.