Data Center Knowledge

Is Chip Cooling the Answer to Data Center Sustainability?

Yongsuk Choi, Chief Strategy & Infrastructure Officer, Empyrion DC comments on innovative chip cooling technologies in Data Center Knowledge

August 29, 2023

Below is an extract from the full article first published on Data Center Knowledge. 

[29 Aug 2023] – The exponential growth of data centers in an ever-increasing digital world has led to significant investments in research, particularly in chip cooling. The cooling of microchips — major energy-consuming components in data centers — alone can account for 40% of overall energy usage in a data center, and the demand for water as a cooling resource is becoming a widespread problem. In light of this, researchers are exploring chip cooling methods to mitigate the energy burden and improve efficiency in data centers.

Yongsuk Choi, Chief strategy and infrastructure officer, at Empyrion DC, a digital infrastructure platform company, says artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) applications are really “shaping the data center industry.”

“Such growth in high-capacity computing has caused a dramatic 200% increase in rack density to 20-30KW per rack today,” Choi told Data Center Knowledge. “This is where microchip cooling comes in. Compared to conventional air cooling, which requires cooling of the entire service, microchip cooling is much more targeted and addresses the direct source of heat at the chip level, achieving faster cooling with less energy consumption. We foresee greater adoption of microchip cooling by data center operators.”

Traditional cooling methods in data centers, such as cooling at the room level, are no longer sufficient to meet the demands of modern high-performance microchips. To effectively handle heat generation, data centers now rely on a combination of air-cooling, direct-liquid, and immersion cooling systems. Enhancing thermal performance and reducing pumping power contribute to energy savings and enable data centers to accommodate the higher transistor densities of new computer chips.

New technologies to optimize heat transfer between data center components are under research by Purdue University in the USA. These include 1) Two-Phase Jet Impingement Cooling that utilizes evaporative cooling via microchannels filled with liquid integrated directly within the microchip packaging; and 2) Direct Liquid Contact and Gravity-Driven Flow that use gravity to optimize chip cooling. 

Read more about these up-and-coming innovative technologies and research done in the US in Data Center Knowledge, first published on 29 Aug 2023.

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