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New ultra-efficient HPC data center debuts
Date:3/19/2013

rom that is very substantial," Hammond said. "Getting the heat directly to liquid rather than through air first and then to liquid is the most efficient way to utilize it."

Water being supplied to the servers will be approximately 75 degrees Fahrenheit; the water returning from the HPC will be in excess of 100 degrees Fahrenheit and is designed to be the primary source of heat for ESIF's office and lab spaces. Data-center waste heat is even used under the front plaza and walkway outside the building to help melt snow and ice. Thus, the heat byproduct from the data center will also improve safety around the ESIF.

Compared to a typical data center, NREL's HPC data center will be much warmer. The 75-degree-Fahrenheit design point is a higher starting temperature for computer cooling. Starting at this temperature allows NREL to eliminate compressor-based cooling systems and instead use cooling towers. In a data center, this is comparable to a homeowner using an energy-efficient swamp cooler rather than an air conditioner. In addition, the pump energy needed to move liquid in the cooling system is much less than the fan energy needed to move the air in a traditional data center. Water is about 1,000 times more effective than air in terms of the thermodynamics, or the heat exchange.

"We're quite enamored with NREL being able to reuse the heat for the building and parts of the campus," Wheat said. "While others have done this before, here we are looking at a combined total efficiency goal and not just harvesting heat. We're looking to see how this can be the best solution for the entire campus."

Using the HPC's waste heat to boost the ESIF's sustainability and finding unique solutions to cut the data center's PUE are just what NREL does. "This is in our DNA; it is part of our mission at the lab, and we want others to follow suit," Hammond said. "NREL isn't one-of-a kind in what we are doing but we've set out to be the first of a kind.
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Contact: David Glickson
david.glickson@nrel.gov
303-275-4097
DOE/National Renewable Energy Laboratory
Source:Eurekalert

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