Singapore’s A*STAR and local SME announce break-through in cooling system for data centres that reduces energy consumption by up to 50%

A test lab set-up to innovate, develop and assess the performance of KoolLogix’s cooling system.

A*STAR’s Institute of High Performance Computing (IHPC) and ERS Industries Pte Ltd, a Singapore-based data centre solutions company, have developed an energy-efficient cooling system, KoolLogix, which uses an innovative heat exchange and phase change approach that can reduce energy consumption at data centres by up to 50 per cent. Using Computational Fluid Dynamics, IHPC accelerated and optimised KoolLogix cooling system’s product design and validated its performance.

A growing digital economy means the demand for data centres will increase, supported by emerging technologies in 5G, artificial intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT). In Singapore, there are about 60 data centres accounting for about 7 per cent of the country’s total electricity consumption in 2020. South-east Asia will also continue to see significant investment into digital infrastructure and data centre development, with the region becoming one of the fastest-growing data centre hubs globally.

“Data centres are in great demand as data form the backbone of the digital economy. However, they also contribute significantly to carbon footprint. IHPC is pleased to work with ERS Industries to help data centres operate more sustainably using such novel cooling solutions, leveraging our capabilities in computational fluid dynamics and high performance computing. This public-private partnership is testament to A*STAR’s efforts to encourage businesses to adopt innovative technologies to become more competitive, and pivot into new markets and new products.” – Dr Lim Keng Hui, Executive Director of A*STAR’s Institute of High Performance Computing (IHPC)

However, data centres are intensive users of water and electricity, and their cooling systems typically use an estimated 35 to 40 per cent of the total power required to run a data centre, according to a study by Digital Realty and Eco-Business. In 2019, the Singapore government informed the industry of a temporary pause on the development of new data centres to ensure their growth in a sustainable manner and with reduced carbon footprint.

“We are pleased to partner with A*STAR’s IHPC in the development of KoolLogix cooling system, an innovative energy saving thermal management solution with distinctive features that help data centre customers solve complex space and thermal management problems. The Computational Fluid Dynamics modelling and simulation support from IHPC greatly helps with our product development process and accelerate time to market for KoolLogix. Our transformation journey from a rack solution to an eco-friendly thermal solution company for Data Center was enthusiastically supported by OTR programme. It helps us sharpened our strategic planning and development roadmap. We are excited to have KoolLogix solutions validated at CDC customised R&D site supported by JTC as part of their green initiative. The testing and evaluation results from the demanding environment demonstrated that KoolLogix has raised to the challenge and has helped CDC to attain a PUE of 1.29, as compared to Asia Pacific average metric of 1.69. With this success, we are happy to be invited by MAI-CDC to participate in their next home base project to achieve PUE < 1.2 by Q2, 2022 before their roll out to the region.” – Mr CK Cheong, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of ERS Industries and its spin-off KoolLogix Pte Ltd

Features of the innovative cooling system

A computer simulation by IHPC to provide detailed physics insights to speed up the design process

Recognising these opportunities and the need for more effective cooling solutions, IHPC and ERS co-developed KoolLogix cooling system, a novel cooling solution using phase change physics that transforms the way to cool data centres.

Compared to conventional computer room air conditioning (CRAC) cooling systems, the KoolLogix cooling system provides targeted cooling to remove heat from servers directly. The system also recycles and redeploys the waste heat discharged by servers for refrigerant phase change cycle. Such novel designs create substantial energy savings and thus lower carbon emission.

The cooling system is also modular and scalable to address cooling requirements. This eliminates typical high overhead costs that come with CRAC systems such as raised flooring, row cooling equipment, booster fans, refrigerant pumps or compressors, and use of aisle containment systems.

A computer simulation by IHPC to provide detailed physics insights to speed up the design process


Partnerships with public agencies and companies in the innovation ecosystem

As part of A*STAR’s talent secondment scheme for local enterprises called T-Up, Dr Li Hongying from IHPC was seconded to ERS Industries in 2019 where she developed an advanced computational fluid dynamics model for the KoolLogix cooling system. Dr Li was awarded the T-Up Emerging Talent Award[5] at the SME Day 2020@SWITCH and is a winner of the Underwriters Laboratories ASEAN-US Science Prize for Women 2021.

“JTC supports the transition towards a low-carbon economy and our estates serve as living testbeds for game-changing innovations and sustainability technology adoption. Such testbeds bring us a step closer to our goal for a more sustainable Singapore.” – Ms Sophia Ng, Director of JTC InfoComm Media & Start-Up Cluster

KoolLogix cooling system will be offered to the rest of ASEAN region as part of its future growth strategy to tap into the fast-growing data centre development in Asia.

“We are delighted to complete the implementation of this MAI-CDC project using a non-purpose build facility from inception to a fully loaded operational data centre in less than three months. This feat was accomplished with the deployment of CDC-KoolLogix cooling solution and the PUE achievement of 1.29 is really impressive. This elevates CDC to the forefront of becoming one of the most energy efficient data centre in the region. It gives us confident to mass deploy this innovative cooling solution across our data centre footprint in Singapore, Indonesia and other regional market. As a growing regional data centre operator with roots in Singapore, it is very encouraging to see local developed solutions performing at this level. Our next milestone is to be the first Singapore data centre operator to achieve a PUE of lower than 1.2 in partnership with KoolLogix in a scale-up project to position CDC as the most efficient data centre operator in the region by Q3, 2022. In land scarce Singapore, the ability to achieve such low PUE without need for customised data centre facilities, coupled with our inhouse AI powered DCIM system (monitoring, controlling and leveraging the energy efficiency flow and usage within green environmental requirements) and low carbon footprint solution will go a long way in supporting the digitalisation of the economy.” – Mr Ng Hoo Seng, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Media Access International

Join W.Media’s Singapore Cloud and Datacenter Convention 2021 & Asia Pacific Awards Ceremony and Gala at Marina Bay Sands on 1st December 2021 to find out the latest issues and innovation that concerns your digital infrastructure.

Vincent Liew

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