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Immersion Cooling Edge Data Center

Video of ITRI/KDDI Immersion Cooling Edge Data Center.

Video of ITRI/KDDI Immersion Cooling Edge Data Center.

When it comes to green computing, or the practices towards environmentally sustainable use of computing, the decrease in the power consumption of data centers is crucial. ITRI and KDDI, in cooperation with other IT enterprises, developed the Immersion Cooling Edge Data Center, using a non-conductive liquid coolant to enhance heat dissipation from servers and thus reduce carbon emissions up to 40%. This creates a next generation energy conservation solution for the ICT industry.

In the Immersion Cooling Edge Data Center, servers are submerged into a non-conductive liquid coolant. The liquid absorbs heat from the servers, and is then circulated through the cooling distribution unit and air-cooled radiator to lower its temperature. The coolant then flows back to a tank to be recycled for reuse. A unique hot/cold aisle design addresses heat dissipation issues for high-density, high-performance servers, boosting overall energy efficiency and flexibility for the equipment.

The innovative data center has five main features:

  • Optimal Equipment Capacity: Liquid cooling has superior heat conduction compared to traditional air cooling, which allows for higher density server systems since it does not require space for airflow between the cooling racks.
  • Assistive Free Cooling: The ventilation windows, exhaust fans, and partition walls of the system all help bring cold air in and dissipate the heat to reach higher cooling efficiency, thus reducing the need for air conditioning and lowering energy consumption.
  • Convenient Maintenance: The single-phase coolant does not evaporate easily, which means that the cooling system does not need to be a fully sealed environment and is easily accessed for maintenance.
  • Rapid Deployment: Built in a modular container, the data center can be rapidly constructed within three months. This feature enables existing data centers to be scaled up or expanded for mobile edge computing (MEC) in different locations.
  • Smart Monitoring System: The user-friendly UI and integrated AI technology can predict temperature trends and allow IT personnel to remotely monitor and regulate the equipment health status in real time.

As remote work is now part of the new norm, and trends in 5G, AI, and IoT, virtual economy, and metaverse are booming, the volume of global data computing will continue to grow. To satisfy diverse applications, data centers will become miniaturized, move towards edge computing, and operate closer to the client side. “ITRI has linked supply chains from Japan, the United States and Taiwan to deliver a comprehensive solution by integrating servers, computer equipment, server system cooling tanks, coolants, and software monitoring systems, and has successfully tested data center operations in subtropical climates,” said Dr. Pang-An Ting, General Director of ITRI’s Information and Communications Research Laboratories.

The immersion cooling technology improves energy efficiency for high-density and high-performance servers.

The immersion cooling technology improves energy efficiency for high-density and high-performance servers.

Assistive free cooling from the ventilation windows and exhaust fans reduces the need for air conditioning and lowers energy consumption. The cooling system does not need to be fully sealed, which offers easy access for maintenance on the servers. The data center is built in a modular container that can be rapidly deployed for mobile edge computing at different locations.

ITRI is also cooperating with members of the Cloud Computing & IoT Association in Taiwan to achieve an average power usage effectiveness of 1.07 for the data center, which outshines the average 1.6 of traditional computer machinery rooms. The power consumption of a single server rack is reduced by 43%, and the size of the rack takes up 60% less space. These significant savings can lower operational costs and lead to sustainable development, and the Immersion Cooling Edge Data Center will enter commercial validation later this year.