The Anonymous Widower

Is Thermify The Ultimate Zero-Carbon Boiler?

In The Sunday Times today, there is an article, which is entitled Tech Is Putting Net Zero Within Reach, which lists several ideas to help us achieve net zero.

The first is the best idea, that I’ve seen this year.

When you talk using a phone, tablet or computer to your family, preferred social network, bank or company, you are probably talking to or through a server somewhere on the Internet.

These servers are often a bank of computers and they use a lot of electricity and give out a lot of heat. So they are often located in unusual places like Iceland. Someone has even suggested putting them deep under the sea.

Under a section entitled Computer Power, the article in The Times introduces Thermify.

The Welsh company has combined a computer server with a heat exchanger to replace your gas-fired boiler.

I suspect all of these servers fit together just like data centres do all over the world.

It would be ideal for my house, as I only use gas for heating and hot water and I have solar panels on the roof and under-floor heating using hot water.

I shall be contacting the company next week.

 

November 7, 2021 - Posted by | Computing, Energy | , , ,

9 Comments »

  1. it’s an interesting idea, but I’d be very sceptical as to whether such a decentralised system can be scaled to provide the kind of instant processing cloud systems require. Cloud providers have consolidated into large data centres precisely because that gives them massive economies of scale, with high-speed comms lines in and out. It would need fibre to the home as a minimum, I would have thought.

    They say they’re looking for seed finance. If they can convince the current providers to set up a large pilot project and that works as advertised, then such capital might be forthcoming. Otherwise …

    Comment by Peter Robins | November 7, 2021 | Reply

    • The idea of decentralised cloud computing has been developing for some time (e.g. Amazon Web Services Outpost, Oracle Cloud @customer), and the necessary pre-req, high speed is rolling out. I think readily available decentralized cloud racks are still at the 20kw size (a full height standard rack, a bit bigger than tallest standard width fridge). Unclear if something smaller than that is practically useful for existing providers. Also some laws would need changing; racks not included in search warrants on the property, searches covering the rack would be remote only, and if the rack is used for anything unlawful then the host is not considered a conspirator.

      The scale-down will still require significant electrical changes to the home, hefty dedicated electrical circuit, maybe uprating of incoming fuse (or a whole new line into the property and additional meter), and doubtless would require a smart meter

      Comment by Milest | November 7, 2021 | Reply

      • I think it should also be born in mind, that there are massive scientific computations that have been done on a distributed basis for some time.

        Comment by AnonW | November 7, 2021

      • but things like Outposts or Cloud@Customer are surely aimed at corporate data centres, to enable, for example, companies to keep data in a particular country if required, so have the ‘cloud’ partly localised. What Thermify are proposing is on an entirely different scale: push DP down to the level of individual houses. This is massively ambitious. I would have thought they would be better off setting up a trial with district heating, the prime example being Copenhagen https://www.cibsejournal.com/technical/europes-hottest-city/ which already uses waste heat for part of its scheme.

        Meanwhile cloud providers are working on finding better ways of cooling their equipment, such as https://news.microsoft.com/innovation-stories/datacenter-liquid-cooling/

        Comment by Peter Robins | November 7, 2021

  2. I also think, that there are applications for larger systems.

    Suppose you have a small estate of perhaps a dozen industrial units. A central boiler based on a large data server could be very useful.

    Comment by AnonW | November 7, 2021 | Reply

  3. That’s what I think that there are application for larger system work.

    Comment by onlinecookiesshop | November 12, 2021 | Reply

    • I shall take a good hard look, when they launch, as it’s the only way I can decarbonise quickly.

      Comment by AnonW | November 12, 2021 | Reply


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