IBM's Aquasar Liquid Cooled Computer Heats Buildings
Last Thursday, IBM unveiled the Aquasar, a liquid-cooled super computer that doubles as a building heater. The Aquasar system operates by circulating water through 'microchannel coolers' attached to the back of the computer. The water is heated by the computer and then pumped into radiant heating pipes under the floors of nearby rooms. Then the water runs through a heat exchanger to cool it back down before it returns to the computer pipes.
The Aquasar reduces the building's carbon footprint by an estimated 85 percent, while cutting the overall computing energy usage by 40 percent.
Since these water-cooled computers require significantly less power to operate than air-cooled computers with chillers, IBM hopes that the pilot project they are conducting with ETH university in Zurich will demonstrate the efficiency of reusing heated water generated by data processing equipment to reduce utility bills.
Although the concept of using waste heat from data centers is not new, this is the first project to incorporate a closed loop system that only consumes 20 kilowatts of power while providing a reliable, renewable heat source for office buildings. Aquasar is an expansion of the green data center being developed for servers at the IBM Blade Center.
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