Combined Heat and Power Potential in Data Centers

Jun 30, 2021

There are over 8,000 data centers worldwide supporting nearly all business and government entities. Data centers store, process, and disseminate information critical to daily operations. They are responsible for approximately 2 percent of all electricity use in the U.S. and also have large thermal loads for cooling processes needed to keep machinery from overheating.

Despite advances in resilient technologies, data centers remain vulnerable to grid outages. A 2020 survey of over 800 data centers found that 78% experienced at least one outage in the prior three years, with over half incurring costs greater than $100,000. Power supply issues caused over one-third of data center outages, underscoring the importance of generation that can disconnect from the utility grid and provide power on-site. Data centers need predictable electricity to maintain constant operation and protect critical information.

Combined heat and power (CHP) generation systems can increase energy efficiency at data centers by continuously supplying them with both thermal energy and electricity. CHP units are also reliable in the face of unexpected outages, allowing data centers utilizing CHP to maintain nonstop operation.

To learn more, download the factsheet here.