EE Times reports IBM researchers are working on new watercooling concepts for data centers that reuse the heat to achieve higher power efficiency:
The trick sounds extremely simple: While in earlier approaches the water used to cool down the sensitive electronic parts had a rather low temperature and the design target was to keep that temperature as low as possible, the IBM researchers work with water at a temperature in the range of 60 to 70 degrees Celsius. This is enough to use it for heating purposes and other energy-reuse concepts. "With the water temperature as low as about 25 to 35 degrees Celsius when it left the computer in earlier times, the only thing you could do is to pump it through a chiller and waste it," a researcher explained.
No chiller is necessary anymore in IBM's concept. Water-cooled data centers using this "high-grade heat" can achieve an even better power efficiency than conventional data centers with "medium grade" heat reuse, claims Bruno Michel, Manager Advanced Thermal Packaging at the IBM Zurich research center. The heat reuse helps to reduce or avoid CO2 generation associated with applications such as room heating, which leads to a drastically reduced overall carbon footprint. The company even talks about zero emission data centers.