Communications Power

NEC Develops Energy-Saving Phase-Change Cooling Technology for Data Centers

NEC Corporation announced today the development of highly efficient, multi-stage cooling technology that effectively removes the heat generated by ICT equipment mounted on racks installed in data centers. Use of this new technology enables data centers to reduce air conditioning power consumption by up to 50%.

This new, multi-stage cooling technology applies phase change cooling technology – a technology previously developed by NEC that can be installed in ICT devices to achieve efficient cooling-to racks on which multiple ICT devices are mounted. Phase change cooling technology is based on the nature of a coolant that removes a large amount of heat when turning from liquid to vapor and therefore allows efficient cooling.

This new technology is able to substantially reduce the air conditioning load inside server rooms because the heat from devices is collected before dispersed and is transported directly to the outside of the server room. In the case of a server room in which power consumption per rack is 12kW, total air conditioning power consumption (i.e. power consumed by fans and cooling machines) can be reduced by as much as 50%. Recent tests conducted at an NEC facility with 10 servers demonstrated that approximately 50% of the heat exhausted from the back of a rack was transported to the outside of the server room.

Applying this technology, data center operators are able to significantly increase the number of ICT devices they mount on racks without raising the air conditioning power. This also allows data centers to substantially improve their processing abilities without having to increase their floor area, as well as to achieve space-saving data center operations.

Key features of the newly developed technology are as follows: Enables efficient collection of the heat from devices through multi-stage placement of heat receiving parts; NEC has newly developed a multi-stage heat collection technology used to effectively remove the heat from each ICT device on the rack as needed by turning liquid coolant to vapor. Ensures high reliability at low cost through coolant distribution and circulation for multi-stage racks.

NEC has also developed a technology used to distribute and efficiently circulate coolant through each level of a multi-stage rack based on the amount of heat generated. NEC’s unique flow path design allows the appropriate amount of coolant to be supplied to each level through natural circulation, thereby ensuring high reliability at low cost. This technology uses an environmentally friendly coolant with an ozone depletion potential (ODP) of zero and a global warming potential of less than one half of conventional products such as HFCs, thus providing an ideal balance between high-efficiency cooling and low environmental impact.

In accordance with the NEC Group Environmental Management Action Plan 2017/2030, NEC aims to be an industry leader in the implementation of energy-saving initiatives seeking to realize a low-carbon society. Such initiatives include improving the energy efficiency of NEC products and commercializing and expanding our line-up of environmentally resistant devices, such as the first server in the industry guaranteed to operate at 40°C. Going forward, NEC will continue its development efforts toward the practical application of this technology as we aim to reduce power consumption by ICT devices and systems and realize efficient data center operations.

This new cooling technology was developed using some of the research results attained through the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization‘s (NEDO) “Research and Development Project for Green Network/System Technology” in which NEC participated from 2008 to 2012.

NEC Corp.
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