Partners: Franklin Energy, LiquidCool
This field evaluation project examined the energy savings from a server rack using liquid immersion cooling.
Immersion cooling consists of placing servers in a dielectric liquid to efficiently remove heat. In a traditional data center, waste heat from servers is rejected into the server room before being moved around and cooled. In immersion cooling, the heat is absorbed by a liquid at the point of heat generation. The liquid is significantly more effective at absorbing heat than air because of its higher density and heat capacity. As a result, the liquid can be maintained at higher temperatures than room air in a traditional data center, improving chiller performance and allowing for more free cooling opportunities.
The project team conducted a field evaluation of savings from a liquid-cooled server rack at a telecommunications customer site in the ComEd service territory. The study established baseline energy use, monitored data after the installation and analyzed the energy savings. To understand market barriers for implementation in the ComEd service territory, the team also interviewed manufacturers and potential customers.
Results and Outcomes
Results from monitoring indicated that liquid-cooled server racks can result in 40% energy savings in a high-end data center scenario, as well as up to 74% energy savings in an edge computing scenario. A technical savings estimate indicated approximately 169 GWh of electricity savings could be achieved through widespread adoption of immersion cooling technology. However, interviews with manufacturers and customers found that the data center industry is resistant to changes from established procedures and infrastructure, stressing technology compatibility and continuity of operation as higher priority than energy savings. The ComEd Emerging Technologies Team will continue to examine the technology category, its potential energy savings and its barriers to market adoption.