As innovations continue to develop in the data center industry, changes in cooling technology likely will lead the way. And Emerson Climate Technologies likely will be at the forefront of those developments with the pending opening of its Helix Innovation Center.
The 38,000-square-foot facility near the University of Dayton in Ohio, which is nearing completion, is designed to encourage collaboration on research involving new technologies for various industries, including data center cooling. The center will focus on challenges in air conditioning, heating, ventilation and refrigeration (HVACR).
As part of the focus on data center technologies, Helix will focus on innovative ways to control data center environments and manage heat — areas of the industry that have not progressed as rapidly. However, the data center cooling market is expected to grow to $11.8t billion in 2020, up from $6.26 billion in 2015.
John Schneider, a vice president at Emerson, said, “The complex, dynamic nature of today’s data center requires more than just new cooling technologies.”
Here several types of cooling technology that likely will progress in the coming years.
1. Fresh air cooling. Using fresh air as an integral part of cooling systems has been used for a number of years to successfully boost data center energy efficiency. Some operators switched to this technology as an alternative to massive cooling systems that were traditionally used to cool down data center servers. These systems could account for up to half of the power used by data centers.
2. Liquid immersion cooling. With immersion cooling, IT equipment is immersed into a pool of cooling fluid, eliminating the need for cooling fans. By using a submerged solution, overhead costs associated with cooling could by reduced by up to 95 percent and server power draw could be cut by 10 percent, according to Green Revolution Cooling. Mineral oil, instead of water, has been explored as an alternative to water.
3. Evaporative cooling. Evaporative cooling is an emerging data centre technology, which is set to significantly disrupt the traditional methods of cooling forever, both financially and environmentally, according to Jack Bedell-Pearce, MD at 4D-DC.
This technology draws warm ambient air through a wetted filter or fine mist, which in turn causes some of the water to evaporate and cool the ambient air down. It is the process of spraying water onto a surface or into the airstream, which evaporates and cools the air passing across the surface or spray stream.
The MD added that compared with traditional ‘compressor’ based air conditioning units, evaporative chillers use up to 90% less power.