New and purely Dutch: cooling computers with a disc
A massive disc of perforated aluminium, 6 metres wide, can as of today serve as a cooling agent for data centres.Cooling large server rooms takes a lot of energy and therefore produces a lot of CO2. But now a 100-percent Dutch invention called 'KyotoCooling' can save both money and the environment.
In the test facility of KyotoCooling in Amersfoort, hundreds of computers are running simultaneously. The small company doesn't need that much computing power, all these machines only serve to demonstrate the working principle of the new cooling system.
Spokesperson Kees Prins of KyotoCooling gets to the point quickly: “Cooling computers takes as much energy as actually running them. All this heat means wasted energy, unnecessary emissions and a lot of money down the drain”
Just allowing the computers to heat up is not an option. The temperature in big data centres would soar so quickly that the equipment would break down immediately. Simply blowing outside air in the server rooms also doesn't work. It contains far too much dust, pollution and moisture for the sensitive machinery. This is why before today huge pumps, compressors and thousands of litres of cooling fluid were used to ensure the electronic super brains of the world were all kept in an old-fashioned fridge. A very large fridge that is.
KyotoCooling is totally different. The cooling agent is no longer a fluid, but instead a large aluminium disc containing thousands of small channels. While looking straight down at the surface of the disc it appears to be of a big role of corrugated cardboard. You simply look straight through. This disc slowly revolves while one half extends into a hot room (this is where fans suck in the heated air from the server room) - the other half is in the cool outside air.
The thousands of channels in the aluminium allow the metal to heat up swiftly, but also to get rid of the heat just as fast. In this way the metal disc 'turns' the coolness inside, and at the same time the heat outside. And all this without energy-wasting compressors, and without outside air entering the server room.
Because even the machinery in the testing facility in Amersfoort looks gigantic, one might think that this type of cooling requires a mega-investment, but that's not true according to Kees Prins: “How much the installation will cost is totally dependent on the size of the space that needs to be cooled, but it certainly won't be more than the traditional cooling systems. What's more: Once the installation runs your electricity bill will plummet.”
And indeed the savings are impressive: This type of cooling needs up to 60 percent less electricity and the same goes for the emissions. It's no surprise that the list of partners of KyotoCooling reads like a virtual 'Who's Who' of the world of data management and ICT.
We'll hear more about this.
Thijs Westerbeek van Eerten