Jeroen Burks

Jeroen Burks

Jeroen Burks: recycling energy from data centres to greenhouses  

Businesses that aim to create positive change are integral to our society. Meet Jeroen Burks, who won the I WILL Award 2020. Here’s how his sustainability-focused business venture Blockheating came about, and how it’s going now.

Jeroen studied applied physics in Delft, and then came to RSM for his BSc in business administration in 2010, followed by RSM’s master in finance, which he completed in 2014. Four years later, he founded Blockheating which develops and designs data centre technology that recycles the waste heat from servers and uses it as a heating source for greenhouses.

“Basically, we give the server energy that is used in the data centres a second purpose, because at the moment, its usually fed to the birds,” Jeroen explains. “And most of the time even with an air conditioning running, even consuming more power to keep it all cool, we can choose a different technology to keep the servers cool and be used by the greenhouse at the same time.”

Jeroen’s team put Blockheating’s first data centre into place in July 2020. With the prize money from the I WILL Award, they hired a chief commercial officer to get the commercial proposition ready, and now they are talking to their first customers who want to run in the data centre.

The next steps for Blockheating are to spread its data centres across the Netherlands and later Europe. “We want to decrease the energy used by data centres and increase the energy recycled by data centres. Our goal is to put 30 data centres in place in the next five years,” says Jeroen.

He is living up to his I WILL statement ‘I WILL be an active alumnus’. Jeroen participated in an RSM sailing regatta, in the I WILL Award, and is still connected with fellow RSM-ers from his study years. “If I could change my statement, then I’d now go for ‘I WILL make the world a more sustainable place for our generation and future generations’.”

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