Regenerative heating was in fact key to the first industrial revolution, it was the only way to make blast furnaces with high enough temperature and power.
It's only recently that datacenter power usage (and thus waste heat) has become large enough for waste heat usage to be interesting.
Efficiency <= 1 - Tc / Th, where Tc is the cold exhaust temperature and Th is the hot temperature. This is of course a theoretical ideal engine.
The issue is that for something like a coal or oil or gas plant, Tc is still damn hot. Something like 900 degrees F is common. It's too low to use for a second cycle of electricity usage, but it's still plenty hot to heat your living room.
We currently use a wood stove that uses a catalytic combuster, so actually reburns the smoke for even more heat. Silly efficiency and almost no particulate matter so passes even the most stringent environmental laws. Its actually one the greenest ways to heat a place like ours. (it only heats the main living area though, we use small space heaters for bedrooms downstairs)
From their site:
Heat your home with cloud servers!
The CloudBox contains powerful servers, used by companies and researchers for their computations. The produced heat is used to heat up the water in your home. You get free hot water and save on your gas bill. And you contribute to an enormous reduction of CO2 emissions!
I think that’s a really nice concept!
This will be more useful for computationally heavy usages with minimal data transfers.
Dev 2: naaa, just spin up a cluster if c5.18xls
IIRC, I first heard about this in Work Like Nature
: I have a double conflict of interest here. The author is my wife, and Leanpub is my startup.
I know someone who has a pair of old mining rigs. They were used as heaters over winter. They didn’t make enough to cover their electrical bill but they took most of the cost of heating away. It’s the fan noise that would bug me.
The restaurant ended up declining because air was too dirty and could not be for cooking.