U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has announced up to $42 million in financing for a program called “COOLERCHIPS” in order to overcome barriers in high-performance, energy-efficient cooling solutions for data centers.
Cooling Operations Optimized for Leaps in Energy, Reliability, and Carbon Hyperefficiency for Information Processing Systems (COOLERCHIPS) will operate under the assistance of the DOE’s advanced research agency for high-potential and high-impact experimental energy technologies – ARPA-E (Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy)
The program is based on carbon, not costs wherein through COOLERCHIPS, ARPA-E will support initiatives that aim to cut down on data centers’ energy consumption and, as a result, their carbon footprints.
According to Jennifer Granholm, Secretary of Energy, extreme weather conditions have an effect on data centers, which connect vital processing and network infrastructure and must be maintained at a specific temperature to function.
Consequently, the development of methods to effectively cool data centers while lowering the associated carbon emissions contributes to the technological advancements required to combat climate change and ensure a future powered by clean energy.
For a high-density compute system, COOLERCHIPS specifically aims to reduce total cooling energy expenditure to less than 5% of a typical datacenter’s IT load at any time and any U.S. location (by comparison, they claim that datacenter cooling can account for up to 33-40% of overall data center energy use).
The program states it will accomplish this by dramatically decreasing the thermal resistance of heat rejection, enabling the coolants used in data centers to live at temperatures that are closer to those of current-generation chips. Additionally, the initiative will strive to be commercially competitive with existing cutting-edge solutions.
In the absence of a solution, ARPA-E predicts that data centers’ energy issues would certainly worsen over time. The program’s site claims that as chip manufacturing techniques approach basic scaling limits for ever-smaller transistors, it is expected that processor power would climb, enhancing data center power density.
Furthermore, the availability of sometimes rare resources for cooling purposes has also been constrained by recent weather occurrences that have brought about high temperatures, droughts, and other difficulties. As a result of these changes, data center cooling will become an even more crucial energy sector in the future.