75 thoughts on “Google’s Hamina Data Center

  1. I don't get one thing. They say that they mix more water 'from the gulf' with the hot water coming out of the data center to ensure they don't heat up the gulf and cause the environment to go bad. But by energy conservation law, since both the sink and the source are from the same location, that is the water used to cool the heated water is coming from the gulf and mixing with the hot water and again going back to the gulf, it actually just takes the heat back to the gulf?

  2. @n9986 Yes. The "water mixing" is just good for avoiding too-hot water spots, presumably causing the fauna/flora to become confused and/or heavy evaporation during the winter [think nuke cooling tower]. You still dump the same amount of waste heat of course. What you have here is a device for transforming electrical energy into warm water, with computation as a side effect.

  3. @n9986 Yes, it would make a huge difference.
    The sink and source for the water are the same, but in transit you are adding a massive amount of energy. If you dump that back into the gulf without cooling it, it will dump all that heat into the gulf.

  4. @n9986 I think that the idea is that there is much more water in the gulf than needed to cool this datacenter. So instead of just sending hot water back, Google can pump a whole bunch of more water to mix with the datacenter water, thus overall the hot water does not affect the environment much. The idea is that the environmental effect of such type of cooling is much lower than just cranking up power consumption on cooling systems, they can create more dense data centers, yet use less power.

  5. Love it! Proud that it is in Finland too. I just wonder how they're dealing with corrosion, salt water can be a major PIA.

  6. This is not an entirely new concept.
    The Sydney Opera House also uses seawater cooling for its Air-conditioning system.

  7. They could actually use the warm water to gain energy 🙂

    However, this is a wonderful project. 🙂

  8. @12345vickycool Well, first, You get busted and thrown into jail. And after that pretty much nothing else happens. Google has plenty of data centers to go around with. 😉 I assume, your… Well not yours, because you would be in jail, but other people's googling would slow down from 0,00000001second to 0,00000002 seconds if one data center would seize to exist. 🙂

  9. That cooling of water retunning to sea has been set up for marketing purposes. Fact is that 20m from waste water tunnel (I presume that tey use the old wasta water tunnel to return the water) flow has been mixed to sea water and the temparetur has dropped more that they ever gain by pumping more water in and then mixing it. That might actually cosume more energy than do any good.

  10. What is so hard with using the heat for heating up surrounding buildings instead of "throwing" it away into the sea??

  11. Depending the servers Google uses, return temperatire of coolant is propably below 50C. This means that for district heating system the energy content per m3 is low. In Finnish climate 70% of "waste heat" could be used for heating (Univ of Lappeenranta). This means that compared to Texas or some other hot area Google's datacenter is more ecological, but in reality it is anything but ecological in Finland. They just saved a chunk in coolin but all the rest of the energy is still wasted.

  12. To buid a really ecological data center you need as cold climate as possible and cheap energy. Then you need a new disttrict of housing and offices wich will be built with floor heating – which works well with low temp water. You need to locate the data center to the center of the district. For cooling use bedrock or waterpark (yes, in finland these need heating even in summer). That would be green. Ex paper mill is not. Not even topped with one PR windmill.

  13. Btw. I would be amazed if the Paper Mill was not sold with it's old Electricity agreement. Wich for us Finns means "Mankala deal". In this deal Paper Mill owns a portion of power plants and hydro and these plant produce electricity to owners with zero contribution margin. It's the cheapest form of electricity there is. And it's coming form nearby Loviisa Nuclear and some from Mankala hydro. The windmill they have, is not big enogh event to run the lights of the Mill.

  14. Oh. One corretion. At the moment Manakala group owns 8,1% of Teollisuuden voima Oyj (Industry Power Inc), 91,3 % of the electricity TVO produces is nuclear ja 8,7 % coal. Wind is 0,01% so it's just for a greenwash (aka PR). Mankala's share of electricity is 1276 GWh/y out of which 1165 is produced at *Olkiluoto* Nuclear (where they are now building the new 1600 MW Olkiluoto 3 reactor). Mankala hydo's are 25+24 MW, but only Ahvenkoski is avail as Mankala production is sold to Helsinki Power.

  15. You could also pump the heat to the Hamina city district heating (HaminaEnergia.fi). This would sure make even better publicity! But alas, as I understand, the district heating is produced in cogeneration (or CHP) and thus there is not hardly any lack of heat energy, as there is the need for electricity, in the current situation.

  16. @n9986 it's less dramatic when the runoff water is at a temperature closer to that of the gulf. rough example: 100 units of water at 30 C compared to 150 units at 20 C. Even though theres more of the 20 C water, its environmental impact is lower, even though the total energy added to the gulf water is equal.

  17. @hukkinen And there is no existing district heating network in Hamina, which pretty much eliminates the whole idea.

  18. Herp derp
    Do you know how often everything will have to be replaced because of wear and tear? Theres a reason we use freshwater to cool stuff.

  19. However, isn't that seawater be heavily corrosive? That would mean you would have to constantly have maintenances, right?

  20. @SterileNeutrino Has Google researched about the effects of this 'new' thermal pollution on the surrounding environment?

  21. I hope he's aware that even returning the water to a temperature much more "similar" to it's original temp. could be detrimental to many species.

  22. @SimplyAsian1206

    I have no idea man. In any case, research would mean comparing to other industrial installation that have similar probems of waste heat disposal [smelters, gas turbines, nuclear industry]. There should be tons of info there, but in the end, you still have to do it and see what happens.

  23. Why Google did not use the remaining heat to provide alternative source of energy to local info-structure?

  24. @mvszao This isn't necessarily true. The Stirling Engine would probably have the ability to cool the data center and run the generators at the same time. However, the way in which they would do this would be extremely complicated, but it could be done and I'm not sure why it hasn't. They should be able to cut the temperature to a median between the sea water and the data center which would probably be rather cool.

  25. @Fcukem
    Nah… I live in Hamina and I think that this datacenter project is really good thing and I'd say that most of the people in Hamina agrees with me.

  26. I'm amazed by these kind of things. Google is a box of surprises. If there's a company I would like to work in is Google.

    Finland also has the some of the finest Liquid Drum & Bass producers such as Kaleb, L.A.O.S., Countour and Physics.

  27. Very innovative. Seawater has been used for condensate cooling since 1950's in that same mill. so only 60 years before Google. Actually all power mills in the cities by the finnish gulf use sea water for the cooling.

  28. If you contionously pump warm water into the existing water, the water temperature in that area will begin to rise slightly. The change might not seem to be big, but it still impacts the enviroment.

  29. Well… I'm impressed! taking the existing infrastructure and building on that. I like the fact that they're not pumping warm water directly back into the environment immediately but cooling it off first.

  30. If you pump warm water directly back into the environment, it encourages algae growth. Not all algae, but certain algae cells release toxins that poison and kill off fish. "Red tide" is a form of algae bloom that does this. By cooling off the water before discharging it back in the lake they prevent this from possibly occurring.

  31. It's not worth the trouble to bother trying to extract energy from the warm water. The warm water effluent is only going to be a couple degrees warmer than the surrounding water. Carnot efficiency at such small temperature differences is abysmal, a few percent at best. Say the datacenter is using 10 MW of power, a waste heat energy recovery system would recover a few hundred kilowatts at most, after the energy cost to run the pumps and such powering it, only a trivial amount would be left over.

  32. It's unlikely that the water is hot enough to generate anything reasonably useful. It's important to remember that these are the best and brightest minds in the world designing Google's datacenters, not amateurs.

  33. Google's servers are just commodity/hardware with efficient PSUs in custom casing, bulked together in large server holding units. It's nothing to write home about.

  34. anybody interested in building a data center in Lebu, Chile.
    There are a few projects around but none like this. and it can be done in Chile. cause the land is next to the sea!!

  35. How about using that heat to distill the water and help provide clean drinkable water to the community?

  36. It's not hot enough for practical heat generation – you can't allow the coolant to get warm enough to be useful and still maintain performance.

  37. Very well-designed !
    I vote for a next stop at North pole but doubt about availability of high speed Internet connection there.

  38. That is all nice and good, but they didn't tell us the important part – did they build a server bank heated sauna too?

  39. I wonder if they used any of the water for power. The natural currents could be used in addition to the outgoing flow of water for some hydroelectric Solar could be an option as well. I would think because it is on the coast that there might be some wind, but I don't know enough about Finland to say if it would be viable for wind power.

  40. Hope they have server heated Jacuzzis as well :), during wintertime you could even dump the heat to a very large outdoor heated pool which is open for swimming!

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