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Highly Efficient, Eco-friendly Immersion Cooling for Data Centres

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - Submer (Highly Efficient, Eco-friendly Immersion Cooling for Data Centres)

Reporting period: 2019-03-01 to 2020-02-29

THE PROBLEM

Data centres play a critical role in our day-to-day lives, serving as the backbone for the internet, mobile applications and data storage. They are the ‘modern day railroad’, transforming how we move and store data. However, the exponential demand for all this data is forcing data centres to change the way they think about growth, profitability and sustainability. Today, the biggest problem facing all data centres is the excessive amount of money wasted to keep servers cool.

Internet & Computing consume a staggering 6% of all electricity generated worldwide (which is more than the entire India consumes). Data centres only are responsible for 4% of global CO2 gas emissions (more than two times commercial air travel). Energy consumption in data centres is forecast to triple over the next decade, making the industry unsustainable. Recognising the massive, growing burden to energy supplies and environmental impacts, the European Commission has developed a Code of Conduct for data centres, and data centre associations are generating further codes of practice. Continually being strengthened and revised, it all adds up to a huge, growing need from data centres looking for the next, cutting edge energy reduction systems.

At most data centres, electricity accounts for up to 60% of operating expenses, roughly half of which is used for cooling processors and equipment in order to guarantee their efficiency and avoid failure. Data centres across the globe spend $7.12 Billion on cooling solutions every year. Although incremental efficiency gains are being made in data centre cooling systems, the solutions on the market are inefficient. These systems are also expensive to purchase, install and maintain, thus reducing the competitiveness of the data centre. And, whilst some data centres are powered partially by renewable energy, this approach alone is inviable to offset the exponential growth in internet traffic.

THE SOLUTION

Dedicated to solving this European and global problem, SUBMER have created the SmartPod® – a patent-pending immersion cooling system in which servers are completely submerged in cooling oil. Based on a biodegradable dielectric oil (or SmartCoolant), heat from the servers is dissipated by passing cooling water through a sealed circuit that runs through the oil. Set apart by its modular design, the SmartPod is the most practical, resilient, eco-friendly and highly efficient Immersion Cooling solution.

SmartPod® Unique Selling Points are:

- All-in-one solution: SmartPod® is a compact, stand-alone, plug-and-play device.
- Modular and flexible: SmartPod® is a flexible, modular, redundant technology that can be easily deployed outdoor or indoor. Thanks to their design, Smartpods can be installed horizontally, vertically or in clusters and be made work independently or all inline. From a geographical point of view, there is no need to deploy SmartPods in cold climate regions. SmartPods can be placed in any kind of environment thanks to their sealed lid that avoids any contamination or corruption of the dielectric oil and protect the IT Hardware from any potentially harmful agent.
- High density: SmartPod offers a solution that allows to reach unprecedented densities in a very limited space, while saving on electricity and operational and maintenance costs.
- Universal IT hardware: One of the most practical aspects of SUBMER’s solution is the fast and easy retrofitting required for adapting “normal” servers to Immersion Cooling. This implies that when customer buy our solution, they are not forced to buy from us any IT Hardware.
The technical work performed to date was based around the building and testing of SmartPod® core pilots in priority our target countries. To do this:

1) The opinions and inputs of SmartPod® end-users were collected to identify their needs and desires regarding the proposed solution.
2) The needs and desires were translated into system specifications.
3) SmartPod® was designed.
4) SmartPod® pilots were built, installed and operated for several weeks.
5) Pilot users provided feedback from a real customer operational environment.
6) Knowledge&feedback gained during the product iteration (both internally and thanks to feedback received) were used to revisit points 1 and 2, in preparation for the next product iteration.
This process was carried out three times, i.e. the so called alpha, beta and commercial product iterations.

The developed SmartPod® comprises a novel liquid circuit system with 3 components:

1) a ‘Bath’ dissipates heat from servers and equipment;
2) a ‘Backpack’ auto-regulated pump system cools and returns the liquid coolant to the bath and;
3) an adiabatic cooling tower.

SmartPod® comes with a monitoring and control software, a platform to allow customers manage remotely their infrastructure and receive notifications in case of any incidence.

Our communication and dissemination strategy was dedicated to entering the data centre market and building a firm reputation for SUBMER, aiming to support our commercial growth in every phase of the production:

- The content strategy developed aimed at bridging the knowledge gap around Immersion Cooling.
- Our webpage includes a repository of webinars and articles that cover all aspects of Immersion cooling.
- We have active presence on social media: LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Slideshare and Soundcloud.
- As far as the participation at events is concerned, we presented the SmartPod® solution at >30 fairs&exhibitions worldwide.

Over the course of this project we have protected our innovative developments in the following manner:

- One PCT patent application.
- Two industrial design applications.
- Two trademark applications.
Although there are several competitors in the data centre cooling market, there does not exist a commercial product worldwide that offers a high computational density immersion bath compartment attached to an auto-regulating, high-efficiency cooling unit. In this sense, Submer Immersion Cooling is changing how datacenters are being built from the ground up, to be as efficient as possible and to have little or positive impact on the environment around them (reducing their footprint, reducing their consumption of precious resources such as water). SmartPod® solution combines cutting edge cooling technology and advanced technical design to deliver superior performance over competing solutions in data centre cooling:

SmartPod® benefits are:
- Reduced energy consumption (< 95% cooling costs), as the technology has a very high power usage efficiency (1.03 mPUE).
- Increased computing density per sqm (which translated in < 85% space needed).
- Silent operation (fanless technology).
- Reduced building costs and latency.

Set apart by its modular design, the SmartPod is the most practical, resilient, eco-friendly and highly efficient Immersion Cooling solution that exists to date. All in all, SUBMER Immersion Cooling is changing how datacenters are being built from the ground up, to be as efficient as possible and to have little or positive impact on the environment around them (reducing their footprint, reducing their consumption of precious resources such as water).
SmartPod 3
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