Computer systems generate a lot of heat. There is great effort to remove that heat using passive or active systems (fans, pipes, etc). There are also many efforts to design cooler systems.
I wonder if this excess heat can also be reused. Somewhat like “grey water” systems reuse some types of water in a home. The amount available is huge. Imagine reusing the heat energy from Google server farms.
I won’t state that this is possible; invariably, such statements tend to be demolished after simple analysis, for example, the cost to capture and reuse the heat energy may be too high or have a low ratio. Anyway, just a thought.
Re-posted from http://jbetancourt.blogspot.com/2006/03/reusing-computer-systems-heat-grey.html on March 5, 2006.
June 21, 2013: So, I wasn’t far off. Some company is doing exactly this. “Iceotope plans to revolutionise the traditional data centre”, While transferring and re-using heat to power other devices.
July 17, 2013: An example of novel ideas being wrong is pedestrian generated electricity. I read one article a while back that described this ingenious idea of using pedestrians walking on a platform that would transform very small deformations into electricity. These could be put in stairs and other places. Well, an engineer analyzed this and found that the generated would have been minuscule, not worth doing.
- Stealing the heat; Energy: The idea of recycling paper, glass, metal and plastics has become commonplace. New technologies allow heat to be recycled, too
- Using waste heat to make cars more efficient
- New thermocell could harvest ‘waste heat’ from power stations and even vehicle exhaust pipes
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