A passive cooling system employing liquid immersion cooling shows promise for significantly reducing energy use in data centers while enabling much tighter component packaging for greater computing power in less space.

Hong Kong-based Allied Control’s passive two-phase liquid immersion cooling system employs a novel approach pioneered by 3M Novec, St. Paul. The open-bath method eases access to hardware while eliminating the need for pressure vessel enclosures and charging/recovery systems, making the technology cost effective for large-scale data center applications.

Using 3M Novec engineered fluids as the primary coolant, Allied Control completed the new data center project on behalf of its client from design to deployment in just six months. The first-of-its-kind data center, a 500 kW facility, is now Asia and Hong Kong’s most energy efficient.

With standard 19” racks and enclosures built in a modular, universal design, the data center is capable of delivering a power usage effectiveness (PUE) of 1.02 in the hot, humid climate of Hong Kong without taking any free cooling into account. Executives at Allied Control believe that with the liquid cooling process, it is possible to surpass this low PUE for data centers located in milder climates in America or Europe. The Hong Kong data center saved more than 95 percent of its cooling electricity energy. This represented $64,000 savings per month in the 500 kW facility by eliminating chillers and air-conditioning units. Additionally, the IT equipment in the data center uses 10 times less space than traditional data centers, requiring less than 160 ft2 (15 m2).

Allied Control reportedly chose Novec engineered fluid for its dielectric heat transfer performance and environmental properties. The system can reduce the energy used to cool IT equipment by up to 97 percent. In addition, harvested heat can be reused for heating, desalination of seawater or organic Rankine cycle.