Aligned Energy claims it has achieved a breakthrough in reusing waste heat exhausted by servers in the data center – a concept that is not new but difficult to implement in data centers effectively.
The Danbury, Connecticut-based company says the combination of its data center cooling system and a system by the Swedish company Climeon, which converts low-grade waste heat into electricity, can serve as an effective energy source for a data center.
The solution addresses two fundamental problems in data center waste-heat reuse: low-temperature heat produced by servers and the difficulty of transporting heat efficiently. Climeon’s technology is able to put low-grade heat to use efficiently, while using energy produced by a data center to power the same data center means heat doesn’t have to be moved over long distances.
Learn about the challenges in reusing data center waste heat in depth:
Climeon’s heat power units use incoming heat to turn its “unique working media” from liquid to gas. As that happens, pressure goes up – since gas needs more space than liquid – and rotates a turbine that generates electricity. The company claims it has found a way to do this “without any losses during the condensation process.”
In the joint solution, heat source for Climeon’s units will be Aligned's data center cooling system, which removes heat directly at the rack by a heat sink and transports it by a thermal bus, which, according to Aligned, is a much more efficient way to move heat than forced air.
The cooling system is sold by Aligned subsidiary Inertech. One of the company’s other subsidiaries, data center service provider Aligned Data Centers, has deployed the system in its Dallas data center and also plans to use it in another data center it is building in Phoenix.
In addition to efficiency, the cooling system is what enables Aligned Data Centers to offer customers capacity that's expandable on-demand, rather than charging them for capacity reserved for future expansion.