Taking the Heat Out Of Cooling: Data Center Example
An increasing number of technology industries are turning to cooling towers to remove excess heat from buildings or processes. Server farms or server clusters are typically located between the system switches and routers, the removal of heat from these facilities is critical to their optimal performance. The advances in cluster computing, scientific simulation (such as Computational Fluid Dynamics), the rendering of detailed 3D images for health care, and the complex transactions required by web enterprises are all processed at server farms. The buildings cooling capabilities, rather than its processing speed, limit performance of the servers. In many cases for every 100 watts used to power the server, 50 watts is required to cool it. The critical design parameter for these large and complex continuous systems is performance per watt. As a result, maintaining effective and continuous cooling is critical to server performance.
Facebook has established a server cluster in Lulea, Northern Sweden (within 62 miles of the Arctic Circle), to benefit from the availability of cold air. High-speed fiber optic cables link the USA to cooler climates, such as Iceland. Google operates 12 data centers globally, with 6 in the USA, and uses 260 million watts of power, or 0.01% of global power consumption. Amazon operates 450,000 servers across 9 locations globally, with a 10th under construction in Ningxia, China. These complex, large scale operations require a great deal of cooling, and for some time now the trend has been to move away from the use of chemicals and towards non-chemical, more water efficient and critically robust disinfection processes. UV disinfection of the cooling water plays a central role in these process critical applications; preventing harmful microbial growth that can pose a danger to employees, while effecting the performance of the cooling system.