U.S. DOE invests $40 million in projects developing cooling technology for data centers

U.S. DOE invests $40 million in projects developing cooling technology for data centers

The United States Department of Energy has committed $40 million to fund 15 projects focused on developing cooling technology for data centers. These projects will be led by national labs, universities, and businesses with the objective of reducing the energy consumption associated with data centers, including facilities associated with edge computing.

The Department of Energy states that data centers account for around 2 percent of the total electricity consumption in the United States. Cooling systems within data centers play a crucial role in maintaining optimal operating temperatures for the equipment. These cooling systems alone can contribute up to 40 percent of the total energy consumption in a data center.

Reducing the carbon footprint has become an important parameter for addressing climate change and supporting environmental sustainability. The investment provided by the Department of Energy aligns with the efforts of President Biden’s goals of reaching net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

“Climate change, including severe weather events, threatens the functionality of data centers that are critical to connecting computing and network infrastructure that power our everyday lives,” says U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm.

The project titled “Holistic modular energy-efficient directed cooling solutions for edge computing” at the University of California, Davis, secured $3.5 million in funding, making it one of the most generously funded projects on the list.

It aims to develop a comprehensive thermal management solution for modular data centers used for edge computing. The solution includes heat extraction from CPU and GPU chips with a liquid-cooled loop and dissipation of this heat to the ambient by use of high-performance heat exchangers.

Nvidia has been granted $5 million in funding to develop a modular data center with innovative cooling systems that efficiently cool the computer chips used in the data center. The design incorporates a two-phase cold plate, which allows the cooling system to achieve a significantly low thermal resistance of 0.0025°C/W. Such systems could be used in edge data center configurations as well as traditional large-scale data centers.

“DOE is funding projects that will ensure the continued operation of these facilities while reducing the associated carbon emissions to beat climate change and reach our clean energy future,” Granholm adds.

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