SBIR Phase II: Metal-based microchannel heat exchanger systems

Period of Performance: 01/01/2011 - 12/31/2011

$499K

Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Enervana Technologies LLC
LSU South Campus, 8000 GSRI Ave., Bldg. 3000
Baton Rouge, LA 70820
Principal Investigator

Abstract

This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II project aims to develop a compact, metal-based, recirculating liquid cooling system for next-generation electronic devices. The dramatic increase in computing power over several decades has been accompanied by an equally dramatic increase in the heat generated at the electronic module level. It is generally accepted that forced air cooling, the dominant cooling technology of today, will not be sufficient for high performance devices of tomorrow. Alternative cooling technologies with higher performance and lower area/volume footprint have become critical for better-performing computing devices. A significant market is expected for such advanced chip cooling technologies. Metal-based microchannel heat exchangers (MHEs) combine high heat flux removal capacity, low area/volume footprint, as well as high mechanical integrity, and constitute a leading technological contender for replacing forced air cooling. This project will focus on design and fabrication of metal-based MHEs and MHE assemblies as heat absorption and rejection modules with improved heat transfer performance, assembly of recirculating-liquid MHE systems, and benchmarking against competing technologies. The study on the design, fabrication, and heat transfer testing of metal-based MHEs will enhance scientific and technological understanding related to micromanufacturing, as well as microchannel liquid flow and heat transfer. The broader impact/commercial potential of this project is tied into the ultimate project goal of incorporating liquid-based chip cooling technology with the best performance into next-generation desktop personal computers and other microelectronic and powerelectronic devices. The planned recirculating-liquid MHE chip cooling system is envisioned to become a critical enabler of higher performance and higher power electronic devices. A quick review of the progress in computing devices over the last few decades and the associated societal changes serves to convince that increased computing power in the hands of imaginative people can unleash unforeseen innovations. Successful execution of this project will push to the market place a product that can serve a catalytic role in such an innovation unleashing process. The target product will be marketed to computer original equipment manufacturers and is shown to enjoy performance and cost advantages over competing devices currently being contemplated. The project goal is to develop cost-effective manufacturing technologies to the point of production readiness. Successful execution of this project will help to establish the commercial viability of a technology-based manufacturing company with potential for positive economic impact and job creation.