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Direct Waste Heat Utilization From Liquid-Cooled Supercomputers

[+] Author Affiliations
Thomas Brunschwiler, Gerhard Ingmar Meijer, Stephan Paredes, Werner Escher, Bruno Michel

IBM Research - Zurich, Rüschlikon, Switzerland

Paper No. IHTC14-23352, pp. 429-440; 12 pages
  • 2010 14th International Heat Transfer Conference
  • 2010 14th International Heat Transfer Conference, Volume 8
  • Washington, DC, USA, August 8–13, 2010
  • Conference Sponsors: Heat Transfer Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4943-9 | eISBN: 978-0-7918-3879-2
  • Copyright © 2010 by ASME


Chip microscale liquid-cooling reduces conductive and convective resistance thereby improving the efficiency of datacenters by allowing coolant temperatures above the free cooling limit in all climates. This eliminates the need for chillers and allows the thermal energy to be re-used in cold climates. Replacing the combustion processes for secondary users with recycled heat from the datacenter effectively eliminates carbon dioxide emission during the winter season and reduces operating cost throughout the year. The energy balance of emission-reduced datacenters is compared with a classical air cooled datacenter, a datacenter with free cooling in a cold climate zone, and a datacenter with chiller-mediated energy re-use. Hot water cooled datacenters reduce the effective energy cost by almost a factor of two compared to a current datacenter and reduce the carbon footprint by an even larger factor. Our energy re-use concept has been demonstrated in terms of cost and energy savings in a 60°C liquid cooled supercomputer. Additional alternative energy re-use schemes in hot climates for desalination and adsorption cooling allow close to full use of datacenter heat in all climates and all seasons. Output temperatures for these applications compared to space heating need to be 10–20°C higher which becomes possible through hotspot adapted cooling that eliminates mixing of fluids with different temperatures. In addition, interlayer cooled chip stacks allow double sided hotspot optimized cooling even closer to the heat source with low flow rates and low pumping power. This improves the large efficiency gain that becomes possible through 3D chip stacking.

Copyright © 2010 by ASME



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