Press Releases

nLighten signs letter of intent with city of Eschborn and GIZ for heat reuse from a data center

The recovered heat from the nLighten data center is to be used for the City of Eschborn's Wiesenbad and GIZ's Eschborn property

Eschborn/Frankfurt am Main, 20.03.2023 – nLighten, a portfolio company of I Squared Capital, today announces the signing of a Letter of Intent with the City of Eschborn and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH regarding the heat reuse from the nLighten data center in Eschborn. The recovered heat from the electronic data processing (EDP) systems in the Eschborn data center is to serve as district heating for the Wiesenbad and the Eschborn property of the federally owned GIZ GmbH, replacing existing heat generation systems.

In the Letter of Intent, nLighten and the City of Eschborn confirm their plan to build and/or support the construction of a supply line (approx. 800m) from the nLighten data center to the Wiesenbad, which will transport the hot water. nLighten intends to ensure a reliable, long-term supply of recovered heat from server operations.

Overall, the use of recovered heat from data centers is still relatively rare in Germany. Yet there is great potential here with the nLighten platform of edge data centers, because they will be located in almost every economic center in Germany.

"The advancing digitalization of the economy and parallel energy transition create an exciting opportunity to integrate data centers into the local energy infrastructure," says Chad McCarthy, CTO at nLighten. "We are very pleased that we are now driving this project together with the City of Eschborn and GIZ."

"In terms of resource conservation and climate protection, the use of recovered heat plays a key role with great potential also for strengthening the resilience of municipal energy systems," says Adnan Shaikh, Mayor of Eschborn. "Based on this conviction, we see the use of recovered heat from data centers as a central building block for the climate-neutral heat transition and heat management planning in Eschborn, which can minimise energy costs. With this, we also want to contribute to the climate protection goals of the city and the state of Hesse and reduce dependence on fossil energy imports."

Eschborn's First City Councillor Bärbel Grade adds: "This is a significant milestone for our city, reflecting the long-standing commitment of our climate protection manager and our willingness to invest in sustainability and climate protection. The exemplary cooperation between the City of Eschborn, GIZ and nLighten is a true stroke of luck with the potential to become a beacon project for our city and the region. We look forward to driving this innovative and forward-looking partnership forward."

"GIZ supports sustainable change in about 120 countries around the world," says Robert Kressirer, Head of Department at GIZ. "Sustainability is also a guiding principle for us at our locations in Germany. By using recovered heat, we can further improve the eco-balance of our properties and are driving a climate-friendly solution in Eschborn."

"Saving energy and protecting resources is an important concern for us in the management of our properties. That is why we are particularly pleased that nLighten is taking advantage of the opportunities available to them and thereby making a contribution to climate protection, and we hope that other companies will follow their example," says Christoph Horbach, CEO and managing partner of HT Group - owner and landlord of the property.

With its innovative data center platform, nLighten wants to make a meaningful contribution to improving the environmental balance of data centers. The sustainability concept of nLighten therefore also includes, among other things, making recovered heat generated by the servers available as a community heat source. For this reason, nLighten is already in talks with municipal authorities and local stakeholders from the business community at the other locations so that the recovered heat is not left unused.

About nLighten

With its German headquarter in Eschborn, near Frankfurt am Main, nLighten is a digital infrastructure platform and a portfolio company of I Squared Capital. We are developing ten innovative data centers distributed across Germany’s key economic hubs to provide best-in-class network access to local industry, private users and the mobile workforce.

The strategic distribution of nLighten data centers, enables the company to have a country-wide presence in all key German cities and offers access to low latency and proximity to their end-users. The nLighten data centers are designed to meet the increasing demand for faster and more reliable data processing and storage, while also being mindful of environmental impact.

nLighten was founded in 2021 by a core team with many years’ experience and wide-ranging expertise in the data center sector. The team’s main motivation was to create the next step for the data center industry and align data centers with the green transition.

nLighten acquired its initial data centers from EXA Infrastructure (both portfolio companies of I Squared Capital) and plans to begin operations in the second half of 2023. nLighten’s goal is to set up and operate multiple leading edge data center platforms in Europe.