Japanese city uses snow to cool data center

Darcy Hitchcock

Data centers generate a lot of heat. In northern Japan, a server farm is collecting and storing snow to keep their electronics cool. They’re also putting their waste heat to good use growing food.


Roughly 200,000 tons of snow are plowed from the streets of Bibai each year, and city authorities are partnering with WDC to deliver some of that snow to its data center. With the extra cooling capacity, the goal is to scale up the center from 20 server racks to 200.


Surprisingly, the White Data Center is able to store and use the snow in summer by insulating it with wood chips.

During the summer months, the snow mound is insulated with a covering of wood chips and dirt. Storing “free” cold energy falling from the sky is a no-brainer as a business opportunity, says Takahisa Tsuchiya, executive director of Bibai City’s economic department. “We…

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