DeepGreen: Swiss Lake-Cooled Data Center

James Hamilton of Amazon writes about the interesting new DeepGreen data center project in Switzerland. It’s one of a growing number of data centers using nearby bodies of water to provide cooling for thousands of servers.

The DeepGreen data center is a 46 megawatt facility planned on the shores of Lake Walensee in Switzerland.
“This facility is cooled using 43F source water from 197 feet below the surface,” James writes. “The source water is brought in through dual redundant intake pipes to the pumping station with 6 high-capacity pumps in a 2*(N+1) configuration. The pumps move 668,000 gallons per hour at full cooling load.

The fairly clean lake water is run through a heat exchanger to cool the closed-system, chilled water loop used in the datacenter,” he continues. “The use of a heat exchanger avoids bringing impurities or life forms into the datacenter chilled water loop. The chilled water loop forms part of a conventional within-the-datacenter cooling system design. The difference is they have completely eliminated process-based cooling (air conditioning) and water towers avoiding both the purchase cost and the power these equipment would have consumed.”

See James Hamilton’s blog post for more detail and some slides illustrating the systems planned for DeepGreen.

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About the Author

Rich Miller is the founder and editor at large of Data Center Knowledge, and has been reporting on the data center sector since 2000. He has tracked the growing impact of high-density computing on the power and cooling of data centers, and the resulting push for improved energy efficiency in these facilities.

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  1. Joe

    i worry about how will it affect the overall water temps over time

  2. Joe, we've had this specific question looked at in depth during the environmental studies done to obtain the permission. In short the specific heat capacity of water in general and this lake in particular, due to it's depth and volume, is so geat that there is no measurable impact at all. On a sunny day the energy (heating) injected by sunshine on the surface is greater than what we could possibly inject over a year. Indeed using lake water for heating (winter with heat pump) and cooling (summer) purposes is very common and popular in Switzerland and a large amount of experience has been gained over a few decades already. -- André Oppermann CTO DeepGreen Datacenter