‘Waste Cold’ Could Help Data Centers Cut AC Costs

August 26, 2014 By Karen Henry

wastecold-energy-manageA new system developed by Cambridge-Mass.-based startup TerraCool would create a symbiotic relationship between data centers and liquid natural gas (LNG) terminals, according to an article in IEEE Spectrum. Essentially, the system uses the waste cold from turning stored LNG into pipeline-ready gas to cool the data center, and the waste heat from data center operations to put LNG into pipelines.

The TerraCool system involves putting heat exchange loops between a data center and an LNG terminal. The heat from the data center is captured and transported in a liquid to vaporize the LNG. When LNG is vaporized, a significant amount of cold is produced. This excess cold would be sent back to the data center to cool the equipment.

Such a system could broaden geographical options for companies looking for locations in which to build or relocate their data centers, the article explained. About one third of a data center’s energy bill goes toward cooling, so data centers are typically located in cooler climates to take advantage of the cooler temperatures to help cool their equipment.

TerraCool says that an LNG terminal with sufficient capacity would produce enough cold to provide all of the cooling needs for a data center and justify the investment in about two years time.

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