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3M, Allied Control uncloak immersion cooling data center

Posted: 21 Nov 2013 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:3M? Allied Control? data center? immersion cooling?

3M and Hong-Kong-based Allied Control, a professional services firm specializing in immersion cooling technology, is working on a prokect that aims to cut energy use in data centers, while enabling much tighter component packaging for greater computing power in less space. Allied Control's passive two-phase liquid immersion cooling system employs a novel approach pioneered by 3M Novec Engineered Fluids. The open bath method permits easy access to hardware, while eliminating the need for costly, pressure vessel enclosures and charging/recovery systems making the technology cost effective for large-scale data center applications, detailed the companies.

Using 3M Novec Engineered Fluids as the primary coolant, Allied Control completed the new data center project on behalf of their client from design to deployment in just six months. The first-of-its-kind data center is now Asia and Hong Kong's most energy-efficient. The success of this 500kW facility has much broader implications for widespread use in the data center market. The advances hold significant potential for organizations building super computers or high-performance computing platforms, central processing unit or graphics processing unit manufacturers, computing clouds, OEMs and green facilities.

With standard 19in racks and enclosures built in a modular, open and universal design, the data center is capable of delivering a Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) of 1.02 in the hot and humid climate of Hong Kong, without taking any free cooling into account. Executives at Allied Control believe that with the liquid cooling process, it's easily possible to surpass this already low PUE for data centers located in milder climates in America or Europe. The data center, despite being housed in Hong Kong's sticky climate, saved more than 95 percent of its cooling electricity energy. This represented a staggering $64,000 savings per month in the 500kW facility by eliminating chillers and air conditioning units. Additionally, the IT equipment in the data center uses 10 times less space than traditional data centers, requiring less than 15m2. The system is located in one of Hong Kong's high rise buildings and fits into the size of a standard shipping container.

Lau went on to state that Allied Control sees passive two-phase immersion cooling as the holy grail of electronics cooling by saving massive amounts of energy, greenhouse emissions and space, as well as resolving a number of today's engineering bottlenecks. The technology allows manufacturers to build better hardware without the heat transfer constraints of traditional cooling, while also being much cheaper and less complex to build and an open and future proof platform. That means its modular design, scalability and re-use for future generations help to save money and increase the lifespan of each hardware generation as well. Rather than requiring additional components like custom water blocks, heat sinks or fans to fit specific hardware, immersion cooling uses non-conductive liquids, like Novec Engineered Fluids, that simply surround whatever shape any future hardware will have. Not only is it cheaper in comparison to traditional computer room air conditioners, but this practice has the potential to lower total overall cost of ownership even further when looking at future hardware generations.

Lau said Allied Control is already in talks to work with additional partners and consulting infrastructure companies on new or existing hardware projects.

Allied Control chose Novec Engineered Fluid for its excellent dielectric heat transfer performance with exceptional environmental properties. The result is a system that can be incorporated into existing data center infrastructure and, because it eliminates the need for chillers and air conditioning units, can reduce the energy used to cool IT equipment by up to 97 percent. Harvested heat from the system can also be reused for heating, desalination of sea water or organic Rankine cycle and provides inherent fire protection for servers due to the fluid's fire extinguishing properties. Revolutionary coolants such as Novec Engineered Fluids, which are non-ozone depleting, have wide margins of safety in their intended applications and low global

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