Emerson Network Power is building a research and development center on the University of Dayton campus in Ohio where it will have a dedicated facility for developing new data center cooling technology.
Called Emerson Innovation Center, the 38,000 square foot building is expected to open in late 2015, the company said. The data center portion of it will work on “next-generation” approaches to controlling data center environments and managing heat.
While vendors have increased efficiency of data center cooling products incrementally, there has not been innovation in cooling technology as disruptive as innovation in IT technology it supports. The most radically different approach introduced in recent years has been cooling servers by submerging motherboards into dielectric fluid, but there has not been wide scale adoption of products from the handful of vendors in this category.
Energy consumption by cooling systems is one of the biggest operating expenses in data centers, so the space is ripe for disruption.
Rather than looking for disruptive technologies, however, Emerson’s R&D center will collaborate with researchers and students from the university’s school of engineering on intelligent cooling technologies and controls that improve energy efficiency and maximize the use of free cooling.
“The complex, dynamic nature of today’s data center requires more than just new cooling technologies,” John Schneider, vice president and general manager of thermal management at Emerson, said in a statement.
All-in-all, the $35 million center will employ between 30 and 50 people. Besides the data center research module, it will have facilities for supermarket refrigeration, food service operations, residential connected homes, and light commercial buildings.