Researchers: Graphene Could Slash Data Center Energy Costs

October 28, 2015 By Carl Weinschenk

Facebook data centerStanford University researchers have performed experiments that suggest graphene in computing and telecommunications could radically cut energy consumption, according to phys.org.

Datacenters are growing quickly to keep up with the massive amounts of data being created in the modern world of telecommunications. These data centers are mammouth users of energy.  Silicon now is the main building block of computing devices, from smartphones to servers. If a substance can be found that stores more data and uses less energy, the savings would cascade through the entire communications infrastructure, including data centers.

That substance may have been found. The Stanford researchers have performed three experiments that point graphene’s potential, which the article says is formed by carbon atoms that link in one-atom thick sheets. These sheets are stronger than steel, as conductive as copper and have thermal properties that are appropriate for nanoscale electronics.

Saving energy in datacenters is an important goal that many researchers are chasing. One idea, advocated by a product manager from the German firm emb-papst writing at DataCenterDynamics, is electronically commutated (EC) fans. The idea is to replace legacy computer room air conditioning (CRAC) units and AC-driven chillers with electronically commutated (EC) fans.

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