Can the heat from running computers help grow food?

Digital technologies are changing how food is produced. And it’s more than harvesting robots that are arriving on the scene. Companies are now pairing data centers with greenhouses, capturing the heat emitted by computing hardware and reusing it to grow crops indoors.

The new QScale data center development in Lévis, Que. is one such project. The company claims that it will “produce 2,800 tonnes of small fruit and more than 80,000 tonnes of tomatoes per year” in greenhouses to be constructed adjacent to the facility.

In promotional campaigns, QScale picks up on the growing public attention to make food systems more local amid supply chain disruptions and rising grocery costs.

As social scientists researching the environmental footprint of digital technologies, we’re interested in the potential benefits and drawbacks of this new emerging connection.


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