Data centres, water reuse & Cuban cigars: Top 5 highlights from WEX

March 23, 2018
A video recap of WEX, including Portugal's water reuse action plan, the environmental impact of data centres and more...
Highlights from the Water Energy Exchange (WEX), including a water reuse master plan across Portugal; data centre water demand; innovation cluster in Yorkshire Water + more!

LISBON, Portugal – With less than 2 percent of Portugal’s water being recycled and a reliance on groundwater, urgent action is taking place to increase water reuse across the country.

João Nuno Mendes, CEO of state-owned Águas de Portugal (ADP) confirmed that a government led “water reuse action plan” is now being developed.

Speaking at the Water Energy Exchange held in Lisbon, Portugal, he said this is part of the utility's plans to help diversify away from groundwater, which can be a “weak” supply under drought conditions.

As part of the action plan, 50 of the utility’s wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) will be selected out of ADP’s 900 facilities. Water will then be adequately treated so it can be reclaimed for use in the watering of gardens and public spaces.

Also discussed during the event was the growing water demand and environmental impact of data centres.

With more information from smart phones such as images and videos being stored on the cloud, rather than individual devices, the need for data centres is increasing dramatically.

Each week a data centre is built with the energy demands equivalent to Miami city, according to John Belton from Black & White engineering, featured in the video above. Furthermore, 900 litres per minute are needed for every megawatt (MW) of energy demand – an enormous amount.

There is enormous potential to co-locate these IT warehouses with water treatment facilities – taking advantage of treated effluent for the cooling water, grid connection and space.

However, James Wilman, CEO of FutureTech said such partnerships are rife with “practical challenges” and that trying to “deliver a commercial solution within a utility is like walking through treacle”.

Meanwhile utility Yorkshire Water is working on a project to bring together a data centre, water treatment plant and other industries into a “circular economy cluster”.

As can be seen in the video above, Jon Brigg, manager of innovation at Yorkshire Water said the plan will be to offtake excess heat from the data centre, which can be used by another customer.

- Video interviews from the Water Energy Exchange (WEX) will be available on WWTV shortly.


Read/watch more

Video recap: Porto Water Innovation Week

About the Author

Tom Freyberg

Tom Freyberg is an experienced environmental journalist, having worked across a variety of business-to-business titles. Since joining Pennwell in 2010, he has been influential in developing international partnerships for the water brand and has overseen digital developments, including 360 degree video case studies. He has interviewed high level figures, including NYSE CEO’s and Environmental Ministers. A known figure in the global water industry, Tom has chaired and spoken at conferences around the world, from Helsinki, to London and Singapore. An English graduate from Exeter University, Tom completed his PMA journalism training in London.

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