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DoD Data Centers to Use Asetek Liquid-Cooling

Energy Manager Today Staff

Asetek has been selected to perform a $2 million project to retrofit a major Department of Defense data center with its direct-to-chip liquid-cooling technology.

The product (pictured), called RackCDU (short for Rack Coolant Distribution Unit), brings liquid-cooling directly to the hottest elements inside every server in a data center, and can save more than 50 percent in cooling costs, the company says.

Hot water direct-to-chip liquid-cooling can capture more than 80 percent of the heat generated by a data center and remove it from the building, where it can be cooled for free by fresh air or reused for heating and hot water, says Andre Eriksen, Asetek’s CEO and founder. No power is used to actively chill the water.

Data center cooling accounts for roughly 5 percent of all electricity consumed by the United States federal government, according to Asetek. Multiple Federal mandates are driving DoD — the nation’s largest energy user — to increase energy efficiency, increase the use of renewable energy and to consolidate data centers.

Similar mandates affect data centers operated by other departments of the federal government.

This project, which will be managed through DoD’s Environmental Security Technology Certification Program, will use Asetek’s technology to convert an existing air-cooled enterprise data center into a more energy-efficient liquid-cooled enterprise data center without disrupting operations during the transition. It will also help DoD consolidate its existing facilities and will create opportunities to reuse energy.

Asetek in-chassis liquid-cooling systems are sold through brand names such as HP, Dell, Intel and AMD, the company says. This project will be the first major deployment of Asetek’s technology in a DoD data center.

Asetek has chosen Johnson Controls Federal Systems, a business unit of Johnson Controls, to install and integrate the system. Johnson Controls Federal Systems has significant experience in systems integration and data center retrofits at DoD installations around the globe.

NREL will analyze energy efficiency performance, savings, lifecycle cost and environmental benefits of RackCDU across all of DoD’s data centers. Data center monitoring and efficiency firm McKinstry will install investment-grade monitoring and collect data results. If the results show the expected energy savings, DoD will expand its adoption of Asetek liquid cooling technology across more facilities.

Data center energy costs are the top-of-mind issues for data center managers, according to a fall survey of data center users from Emerson Network Power, with 35 percent of respondents citing power as the primary factor limiting data center capacity and 16 percent citing cooling.

The high cooling costs are driving many data centers to try energy-efficient technologies, such as Facebook’s new data center in Forest City, NC, which uses outside air to keep its servers cool. Microsoft’s new 112,000-square-foot data center in Dublin also will rely entirely on free-air cooling instead of using mechanical chillers.



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