NEC officials say the company has developed data center cooling technology that can drive down the power consumption of air conditioners by as much as 50 percent.
The company announced the multistage technology Sept. 3, 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.
The phase-change cooling technology—which is based on the nature of a coolant that works by removing large amounts of heat when they turn from liquid to vapor—is an offshoot of similar techniques that NEC has developed that is installed in the systems themselves. Now data center administrators can apply the same techniques to racks of systems, company officials said.
The trick with NEC’s technology is that the heat from the systems is collected before it’s dispersed, and then sent directly to the outside of the server room, which lessens the demand on the air conditioners that are commonplace in data centers. According to company officials, in tests at an NEC facility that housed 10 servers, about half of the heat coming out of the back of a rack was sent to the outside of the server room.
The cooling technology not only lets data center 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, according to company officials.
The ability to cool the data center by removing the heat from the devices in the rack by turning liquid coolant into vapor is one of the key parts of the offering, according to NEC officials. In addition, the company has developed a flow path for the coolant that allows for the appropriate amount of coolant to be supplied to each level of the rack via natural circulation, which means high reliability and low costs, the company said.
NEC officials also said the coolant used—they didn’t name what it is—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.