BKT, a company of wastewater treatment and sustainability, alongside its global subsidiary Tomorrow Water, plans to build data centers on-site at water resource recovery facilities (WRRFs). Tomorrow Water’s plan takes advantage of synergistic opportunities to drastically reduce energy costs and environmental impacts of both wastewater treatment and data center operations.
Collaboration for improving wastewater treatment infrastructure
As data centers undergo air-cooling, hot air is diverted into the biological treatment and/or sludge drying systems of the WRRF. Additionally, the cold water treated by the WRRF is used to cool the air feeding the data center. Once this water is warmed via heat exchange at the data center, it is fed back to the WRRF where it warms the biological reactors.
Kim Dong-woo, CEO and Founder of BKT and Tomorrow Water explained,
“The concept of building a WRRF alongside a data center is expected to be a particularly attractive alternative for large cities in the United States that are experiencing budget reductions due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It is very likely that large financial institutions and construction companies will cooperate to improve wastewater treatment infrastructure, as well as acquire needed space for data centers as public-private partnership projects.”
Trends such as remote learning, work-from-home during the COVID pandemic, and the digital transformation of developing nations create a significant need for new data centers globally. The demand for data centers comes with significant challenges, including space limitations, huge energy requirements, steep operation and maintenance costs, and a serious carbon footprint associated with data centers that are notoriously energy-intensive.
BKT has succeeded in developing advanced WRRFs that require only a fraction of the physical footprint required by conventionally designed treatment plants. This achievement is due in part to the company’s BBF/Proteus biofiltration technology which uses 80-85% less square footage than a primary clarifier of the same throughput. At the Jungnang Water Reclamation Center, Seoul, South Korea’s first WRRF, BKT cut the plant’s existing footprint in half after it underwent modernization 3 years ago.
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