This startup has engineered a clever way to reuse waste heat from cloud computing

The Heata unit installed next to a home washing machine and laundry basket - LUIGI AVANTAGGIATO

This startup has engineered a clever way to reuse waste heat from cloud computing
MIT Technology Review, August 18, 2023
Field Notes
by Luigi Avantaggiato

“Heata is now using these busy servers to heat water for homes.”


Using heat generated by computers to provide free hot water was an idea born not in a high-tech laboratory, but in a battered country workshop deep in the woods of Godalming, England.


“The idea of using the wasted heat of computing to do something else has been hovering in the air for some time,” explains Chris Jordan, a 48-year-old physicist, “but only now does technology allow us to do it adequately.


“This is where I prototyped the thermal conductor that carries heat from computer processors to the cylinder filled with water,” he says, opening his workshop door to reveal a 90-liter electric boiler. “We ran the first tests, and we understood that it could work.” Jordan is cofounder and chief technology officer of Heata, an English startup that has created an innovative cloud network where computers are attached to the boilers in people’s homes.


Next to the boiler is a computer tagged with a sticker that reads: “This powerful computer server is transferring the heat from its processing into the water in your cylinder.” A green LED light indicates that the boiler is running, Jordan explains. “The machine receives the data and processes it. Thus we are able to transfer the equivalent of 4.8 kilowatt-hours of hot water, about the daily amount used by an average family.”

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About the Author:

Luigi Avantaggiato is an Italian documentary photographer.