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Uncertain Greenhouse Gas Implication in Waste Heat Utilization – A Case Study with a Data Center

Original scientific paper

Journal of Sustainable Development of Energy, Water and Environment Systems
Volume 8, Issue 2, June 2020, pp 360-372
DOI: https://doi.org/10.13044/j.sdewes.d7.0301
Jani Laine1 , Kaisa Kontu1, Jukka Heinonen2, Seppo Junnila1
1 Department of Built Environment, School of Engineering, Aalto University, P.O. Box 11000 (Otakaari 24), FI-00076 Aalto, Finland
2 Faculty of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Iceland, Sæmundargata 2, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland


Waste heat utilization is shown to have the potential to decrease greenhouse gas emissions globally. The purpose of this case study is to illustrate how the utilization of waste heat to decrease municipal boundary greenhouse gas emissions may increase such emissions within wider boundaries. The case study assesses the utilization of waste heat generated by a data center. In this paper, we analyze the implications within Scopes 1-3 of the Greenhouse Gas Protocol together with attributional and consequential life cycle assessment principals. Only Scope 1 showed negative greenhouse gas emission implications. In order to achieve negative Scope 2 emissions, approximately half of the waste heat would need to be utilized, which is the purpose of further site development.
In order for negative Scope 3 emission implications, electricity production changes are needed or local municipal replaceable greenhouse gas emissions would need to be much higher.

Keywords: Climate change mitigation, Greenhouse gas inventory, Life cycle assessment, Energy systems, Greenhouse gas protocol.

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