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Low Energy Dew Point Cooling for Computing Data Centres

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - DEW-COOL-4-CDC (Low Energy Dew Point Cooling for Computing Data Centres)

Reporting period: 2019-01-01 to 2022-10-31

Cooling systems for Computing & Data Centres (CDCs) run throughout the year and consume 30% to 40% of energy delivered into the centre spaces, while the electricity use in CDCs represents around 1.3% of the world total energy consumption. The traditional mechanical vapour compression cooling systems for CDCs are neither energy efficient nor environmentally friendly.

Several alternative cooling modes, e.g. adsorption/absorption, ejector, and evaporative types, have certain level of energy saving potential but exhibit some inherent problems that have restricted their wide applications in CDCs. By bringing together the distinguished EU and Chinese experts in dew point cooling R&D and manufacturing, CDC cooling system design, CDCs operation and management, and CDCs policy making and standardization, this international staff exchange programme will develop the design theory, computerised tool and technology prototypes for a novel CDC dew point cooling system.

The overall aim of the proposed staff-exchange-based research & innovation programme is to develop the design theory, computerised tool and technology prototypes for a novel dew point cooling system, by bringing together the key people in both cooling and CDC sectors who have the right and complementary skills/expertise. Such a system, comprising a few critical and highly innovative components (i.e. dew point air cooler, adsorbent sorption/regeneration cycle, micro-channels loop heat pipe based CDC heat recovery system, paraffin/expanded-graphite based heat storage/exchanger, and internet-based intelligent monitoring and control system), is expected to achieve 60% to 90% of electrical energy saving and have a comparable initial cost ccompared to traditional CDC air conditioning systems, thus removing the above outstanding problems remaining with the existing CDC cooling systems.
Project has been planned to be carried out in eight different technical work packages. The work packages and detailed completed parts are listed as follow:
WP1. Development of the CDC dew point cooling system design framework and database (100% DONE). Investigation of the CDC space layout and load profile, investigation of the general profile of the CDC dew point cooling system and database development are the three fulfilled parts.
WP2. Development, optimisation and characterisation of a CDC dew point air cooler (100% DONE). A second level computer numerical simulation and optimisation.
WP3. Development, optimisation and characterisation of a novel adsorbent sorption/regeneration cycle (100% DONE). Selection and characterisation of the adsorbent material and bed structure, computer numerical simulation and optimisation of the sorption/regeneration cycle are the main part have been done so far.
WP4. Development, optimisation and characterisation of the MCLHP based CDC waste heat recovery system (100% DONE). Computer numerical simulation / optimisation of the MCLHP have been completed.
WP5. Development and characterisation of the heat storage/ exchanger (100% DONE). Computer numerical simulation and optimisation for the system has been finished.
WP6. Development, characterisation of an internet-based intelligent system (100% DONE). Control theory & approach and associated computer set-up has been done.
WP7. Development of the CDC cooling design theory and associated computerised tool. (100% DONE). Cooling design theory has been completly developed.The associated computerised tool has been successfully developed.
WP8. Case studies – 4 projects. (100% DONE) 4 Data center has been fully investigated and related case study has been carried out. The design, installation, and operation process of the DPC system are reviewed and validated.
The outcomes of the programme will create an opportunity to remove the outstanding energy intensive problems exhibited by current CDC cooling systems, thus contributing important added values to the ‘European Code of Conduct for Data Centres Energy Efficiency’. From the RISE (Research and Innovation Staff Exchange) point of view, the programme will develop a long term partnership on joint research & innovation activities, promote international and inter-sector collaboration, encourage knowledge sharing and technology transfer & commercialisation, and in particular, strengthen the interaction among the CDCs and cooling focused organisations and between the academic and non-academic sectors, across Europe and China.
Schematic of the CDC dew point cooling system