Version 11 (modified by Rick van der Zwet, 6 months ago) (diff)


Table of Contents


    Zero Emission Heating is a research project which uses left-over processing power from old computer equipment to transform Green Energy (generated using Wind & Solar Power) to heat.

    This yields to the following benefits:

    • The 'high quality' energy has a dual purpose, instead of directly converting it to heat.
    • Reuse of equipment is placed higher on the Waste Hierarchy ladder, than Recycling or Disposal.
    • The computing power could be used for the common cause, by calculating for science projects using BOINC.
    • The use of computers allows advanced smart management; for example only heat when prices are low or scale down heating (computation) to a lower level.


    I have an old PC with additional GPU, how-ever running this at full capacity does not yield enough heat to fully heat my home, so I properly needs to be running multiple machines and find good solutions for the noise produced. This only works with Zero Emission Energy; I have solar panels mounted on the roof and bought a stake in wind-power to have power available from different sources.


    Environment costs are a factor to consider when switching to full electric power. Yet what does it cost? Tarifs for The Netherlands are listed:

    • 1kWh electricity costs 22ct (5ct w/o VAT)
    • 1m3 natural gas costs 68ct (20ct w/o VAT)

    1m3 natural gas produces roughly 37 MJ of heat, 1kWh electricity produces roughly 3.6MJ, thus you will need 10kWh electricity to produce the same amount of heat as 1m3 natural gas.

    Thus the overall comparison yields:

    • 10kWh electricity costs 220ct (50ct w/o VAT)
    • 1m3 natural gas costs 68ct (20ct w/o VAT)

    Heating with electricity in the Netherlands is 3.5 (2.5 w/o VAT) times more expensive than natural gas. How-ever since natural gas is 'deprecated' the prices are expected to rise steady where-as prices for electricity are going down. I consider this extra costs 'Environment Protection', which I believe should be factored into more decisions.

    Why not use …

    • Air source heat pump; They make quite some noise and annoy the neighbours.
    • Geothermal heat pump; Large investment and not scalable without good planning and coordination with neighbourhood.
    • District heating; Transporting excess heat requires a large infrastructure, spending the same amount on improving the electricity grid allows for more re-use possibilities.


    By using Gridcoin (GRC) you could get a small rebate of the costs required to run the equipment


    It comes with the following challenges:

    • Running (old) computers requires time & effort in order to keep them running.
    • Spare parts needs to be around to be able to cope with failures.
    • Drivers for old GPU hardware are sometimes hard to get to work.

    Join the cause

    Find 'Team Zero Emission Heating' in your favourite BOINC project and join the team to promote our effort.

    Similar projects

    • Start-up Nerdalize is using computing power to heat tap-water.

    Test Setup 1

    Hardware configuration:

    • 3 x NVIDIA Quadro 4000
    • Intel Quad Core
    • 4GB DDR3 RAM
    • 750W Crossair power supply
    • PCI-Express 4 port riser board
    • Intel motherboard

     # Install Ubuntu 16.04 Server LTS amd64:
     # Update system to latest version:
       $ sudo apt-get update
       $ sudo apt-get dist-upgrade
       $ sudo reboot
     # Unload nouveau driver (causes trouble during NVIDIA install):
       $ sudo rmmod nouveau 
     # Install NVIDIA drivers legacy 390.87 drivers:
       $ sudo apt-get install build-essential
       $ chmod 755 
       $ sudo ./
       $ sudo update-initramfs -u
       $ sudo reboot
     # Install helper software for GPU testing:
       $ sudo apt-get install clinfo opencl-headers git
       $ git clone
       $ cd memtestCL/
       $ make -f Makefiles/Makefile.linux64 
     # GPU testing and status utilities:
       $ ./memtestCL
       $ clinfo
       $ nvidia-smi
     # Install BOINC software:
       $ sudo apt-get install boinc-client boinctui
       $ sudo systemctl start boinc-client
     # Configure BOINC software:
       $ boinccmd --project_attach <account_id>
     # Monitor BOINC software:
       $ boinctui