Just like human body, the supercomputers need cooling and present day ones are using a system that mirrors our sweat glands. The biggest difference is that while you perspire maximum 3.5 gallons of water in 24 hours, a normal computer data center need 350, 000 gallons of water to stay functional all day. That is approx.100, 000 times of human body requirement. This means millions of gallons of water is wasted every year.
However, a team of engineers recently came up with a solution that could save this wastage and keep our data keepers safe and cool at the same time. The new technique is known as Thermosyphon Cooler Hybrid System that works more like a refrigerator. If you have ever learned about how the traditional water cooling method works you will understand the working of this system. Water present near the servers in data centers takes in all heat and moves off to a cooling tower. In this tower, the warm water creates water vapor that then evaporates in the atmosphere. The cool water then circulates through the data center and repeats the process leading to huge consumption of water.
The Thermosyphon Cooler Hybrid System, on the contrary, employs a liquid refrigerants for heat removal. The water is still used for absorbing heat given off by the servers but in place of cooling tower it goes to a closed system that is placed next to another closed system with refrigerant. The refrigerant liquid takes in all the heat of water and sends ti back to the data center without evaporating any part of it. Thus same amount of water is used for cooling again and again and lot of water is saved. The refrigerant that heats up rises within the system giving off heat to the atmosphere and then gets condensed back to liquid state to absorb more heat from water.
The lead engineer of this project, David J. Martinez, explains, “There’s no water loss like there is in a cooling tower that relies on evaporation. We also don’t have to add chemicals such as biocides, another expense. This system does not utilize a compressor, which would incur more costs. The system utilizes phase-changing refrigerant and only requires outside air that’s cool enough to absorb the heat. If you don’t have to cool a data center to 45 degrees Fahrenheit [7°C] but instead only to 65 to 80 degrees [18 to 27°C], then a warmer outside air temperature—just a little cooler than the necessary temperature in the data center—could do the job.”