SBIR Phase II: Fluid submersion cooling for energy and cost efficient data centers

Period of Performance: 01/01/2012 - 12/31/2012

$453K

Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

GR Cooling
5555 N. Lamar Ste K117
Austin, TX 78758
Principal Investigator, Firm POC

Abstract

This Small Business Innovation Research Phase II project proposes to commercialize liquid submersion cooling for computer servers. Liquid submersion cooling involves submersion of heat-generating components in a non-electrically-conductive liquid, replacing air as the heat transfer medium. Liquid is significantly better than air to transfer heat, but historically has required cost-prohibitive capital expenditures due to the added complexity of previous liquid cooling architectures. The research objectives are to produce a system capable of being mass produced at low cost, and with compelling system features that drive customer demand. The broader impact/commercial potential of this project includes lowering of one of the largest marginal contributors to US electricity use. The EPA estimates that data centers now use nearly 3% of US electricity, up from nearly 1% in 2000, with nearly half of power being driven by using air as the primary heat transfer medium. This high-efficiency system offers the potential to cut total energy use by nearly 50% by nearly eliminating energy for cooling and reducing server power through internal fan removal, while offering higher cooling performance and lower costs. Also, this new heat-recapture system offers the potential to eliminate nearly all server energy in many locales. Alternate cooling solutions that are cost effective only offer marginal improvements, and as computing becomes a larger part of the economy, the search for more energy and cost efficient technologies will become more critical.