Silicon Valley has always been at the heart of technological innovation not only in the United States but around the world. Lately, the area has become not just a temple to technology, but the center of a green revolution that is seeing amazing developments in the area of green cooling solutions. To maintain a data center server requires enormous amounts of power so that the computer rack server stays cool. The challenge is working out how to increase server performance, maintain the temperatures necessary, and yet expend as little energy as possible. One of the newest and most amazing innovations in green cooling solutions is a liquid immersion cooling.
How Does It Work?
Immersion cooling begins when electrical components go into a bath made up of dielectric heat transfer liquids. These transfer liquids are far better at conducting heat than air or water and have low boiling points. The causes the fluid to boil, and the rising vapor removes heat from the system.
Why Is This Better Than Other Systems?
Immersion cooling systems, in general, are far superior to any kind of electric powered air cooling system. They are far more energy-efficient and less expensive to run, and this system, in particular, is both clean and safe. The materials are nonflammable and environmentally friendly, there are no heatsinks, and circulation occurs passively through the process of evaporation and requires no extra energy expenditure.
What Advantages Are There?
- These green cooling solutions allow a data center to do away with many of the restrictions that traditional cooling methods required. Just one example is density: it is possible to pack the servers far more densely when they are cooled in this way then when it is necessary to cool them by air conditioners or chillers. Less supporting infrastructure is required, which makes it easier to design and build facilities or fit a new or upgraded server into an existing facility.
- No heat transfer system is required. This means that time-to-market is enormously improved and engineers are able to worry about getting a system or application out without simultaneously worrying about how to deal with heat transfer issues and limitations.
- The immersion system is the cleanest way to cool. With air conditioning systems, not only is there immense energy expenditure, but also the system itself creates an enormous amount of dust. The massive airflow required to cool cannot help but bring in dust and dirt from the outside, and even the best filters can’t keep it all out. All this is eliminated with immersion cooling, and everything that comes out of the bath is clean and never sticky, oily, or even wet.
- Green cooling solutions improve server performance. Everyone always needs to get the most out of their servers, and the immersion cooling system provides lower temperatures and thus improved performance with no worries about hotspots or wild temperature swings.
- There is no need to re-design for the future. As servers improve and get faster, air cooling systems have to be redesigned in order to accommodate greater heat output. This isn’t true with green cooling solutions, which can be used with all future server systems.
What Are the Limitations of Such a System?
As of this moment, no limitations have yet been successfully demonstrated. Tests have found that 4000 W of power can be cooled with only 200 mL of fluid in a total volume of just a liter. This makes it possible to envision server rooms that are enormously larger than even what we use today, and the expectation is that this technology will be used going forward for many, many decades.
Sometimes, it’s necessary to make a choice between doing what’s best for the environment and doing what’s best for a business. Amazingly, green cooling solutions for server rooms don’t require making such a choice: the solution that is good for the earth is just as good for the entity that implements it.