Data Center Liquid-Cooling: 60% Cooling Savings, Waste-Heat Recovery and 1 Year Payback

Steve Branton | Asetek, Inc.



RackCDU is a unique data center efficiency technology that brings high-performance liquid-cooling directly to the hottest elements inside each server (“hot-spot cooling.”) The objective of this project is to validate the energy savings and life-cycle cost benefits of RackCDU by showing that, compared to state-of-the-art air-cooling, hot-spot cooling installed as a retrofit in an existing Department of Defense (DoD) data center (will provide: (1) 60-80% reduction in cooling energy; (2) 20-30% reduction in peak load; (3) waste-heat recovery of 40-60%; (4) consolidation of data center capacity by 2.5 times without expanding the footprint or air cooling infrastructure; and (5) more than 10 times life-cycle savings-to-investment ratio. The demonstration will be conducted at the Redstone Arsenal, Alabama.

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Technology Description

RackCDU replaces the existing heat-sinks in standard commercial servers with an innovative sealed liquid-cooling loop. Water is 4,000 times better at transporting heat than air. RackCDU brings water directly to the hottest components in each server, but keeps the water self-contained within a factory-sealed, closed-loop system, preventing direct contact with electronic components. The system then transports the heat out of the building, where it can be passively cooled with outside air (“free cooling”). The heated liquid can also be used to pre-heat water for a facility’s hot-water system, providing no-cost renewable energy. This system can be installed in existing servers and racks as an on-site retrofit.

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RackCDU could reduce global DoD facility electricity consumption by up to 1.8 billion kWh/year and generate up to 6.0 trillion BTUs/year of renewable energy, saving more than $200 million per year and reducing global greenhouse gas emissions by 5 million tons per year. RackCDU can also reduce total data center peak load by 20-30%, reducing strain on local electrical grid infrastructure, further improving energy security. The ability to increase server density 2.5 times will also enable significant capital avoidance over the next decade, as DoD strives to meet its current mandates for data center consolidation. This demonstration will provide the data, awareness, and confidence needed to drive adoption of hot-spot cooling throughout DoD. It will also provide immediate benefit to the demonstration site from reduced energy consumption, reduced peak load, on-site renewable generation, and significant capital avoidance during the term of the project. (Anticipated Project Completion - 2015)

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Points of Contact

Principal Investigator

Mr. Steve Branton

Asetek, Inc.

Phone: 408-823-4486

Fax: 408-578-9022

Program Manager

Energy and Water