NEC Says Phase-Change Cooling Cuts Bills

Jeffrey Burt is a senior editor for eWEEK and contributor to TechWeekEurope

NEC is cooling server racks with fluid that changes to a vapour and back

NEC has developed data centre cooling technology that it believes will drive down the power consumption of air conditioners by as much as 50 percent.

The company announced the multistage technology this month, with officials saying that it not only efficiently removes the heat generated by compute resources installed in racks, but that it uses a coolant that has a low impact on the environment.

cooling air conditioning data centre © SeanPavonePhoto shutterstockPhase change cooling

The system uses a phase-change coolant – that works by removing large amounts of heat when it turns from liquid to vapour. It has already been used within individual systems, but is now being applied to racks of systems.

NEC’s technology collects the heat in concentrated form, and takes it directly to the outside of the server room, which lessens the demand on the air conditioners that are commonplace in data centres, which would normally cool systems with a stream of air. In tests at an NEC facility that housed ten servers, the phase-change coolant removed about half of the heat coming out of the back of a rack.

The cooling technology not only lets data centre administrators reduce the amount of energy their air conditioners use, but also enables them to put more devices into the racks without having to increase the amount of air conditioning they use or the floor space to hold the systems.

The coolant flow path gets the appropriate amount of coolant to each level of the rack via natural circulation, which means high reliability and low costs, the company said. NEC declined to identify the coolant it uses, but said it is environmentally friendly, won’t add to the woes of the ozone layer and offers a good balance between efficient cooling and low environmental impact.

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Originally published on eWeek.

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