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Google's new Finland data center is cooled by seawater

By Jos
May 25, 2011
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  1. Google has released a video showing off an interesting environmentally friendly innovation in one of their newly built data centers -- namely, a seawater cooling system for its servers. Located…

    Read the whole story
  2. tacobfm

    tacobfm Newcomer, in training Posts: 59

    That's actually pretty cool.

    Why not just use the colder water in the first place though?
  3. Cueto_99

    Cueto_99 TechSpot Enthusiast Posts: 245   +12

    Google = Innovation!
  4. @ tacobfm

    I'm guessing you misinterpreted "mixed back with cooler water"? It means they mixed the water used for cooling (which is now warm as a result of the process) back with cooler water (as in cooler than the now warm water, but same temperature as that water was to begin with) before pumping it back into the sea. It doesn't mean the water ejected by the system is the exact same temperature as the water going in, but the ecological impact is minimal compared to pumping out warm water straight from the cooling system.
  5. Shnig

    Shnig TechSpot Enthusiast Posts: 175

    Not exactly cutting edge though. That's pretty much how Sydney Opera House's A/C works. Although they did it for vanity reasons rather then eco reasons as they didn't want coolant fans wreaking the roof curves...
  6. Cota

    Cota TechSpot Enthusiast Posts: 521   +8

    @Tacobfm
    Note that due to the Conservation of Energy, that heat will eventually do the same ecological impact in some other way, just because it wont be seen next to the data center doesn't means its more "ecological"
  7. OUTLAWXXX

    OUTLAWXXX Newcomer, in training Posts: 51

    When google isn't being scary about the data they have on you and potentially handing it over to gov. agencies... I really do love this company ^_^
  8. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 10,590   +864

    Seawater as a coolant? Much in the same vein, I was saying the same thing about the ten dollar hooker that just walked down the street. "Man, I'd hate to see the inside of those pipes"!...;)
  9. dividebyzero

    dividebyzero trainee n00b Posts: 4,819   +651

    Isn't that the reason that they make the maintenance inspection ducts so large?

    BTW: How do you know she's $10 ? Is that the advertised MSRP ?

    /not looking forward to the next Friday the 13th sale.
  10. Lurker101

    Lurker101 TechSpot Addict Posts: 630   +122

    Well you'd think the scabs would be a giveaway
  11. Shnig

    Shnig TechSpot Enthusiast Posts: 175

    The reason those pipes don't rust is pretty cool. Same way some ships do it as well as the Sidney Opera House. They have a replaceable block of more reactive metal that rusts rather then the pipes. Again please everyone understand that nothing here is innovative by google in any way. Google just have more money to tell us about their "innovations" then others...
     
  12. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 10,590   +864

    Probably very similar in principal to a rod in your home hot water heater that collects impurities. These have been around for decades, I believe they're called, "sacrificial anodes". A description at paragraph 3 and diagram here: http://homerepair.about.com/od/plumbingrepair/ss/hwh_tank_gas_3.htm
  13. Cool man, real cool.
  14. cmbjive

    cmbjive TechSpot Enthusiast Posts: 496   +82

    "Next week Google will also be detailing two other energy-efficient data centers in Europe that don't use chillers, but rather outside air and evaporative cooling."

    So, they're going to use something akin to a swamp cooler to cool their servers? I wonder what they will do about inside moisture.

    Also, it appears that it is still in the testing phase so we don't have an actual idea of how it will perform under pressure. Should be interesting, though.
  15. IBM has used this technology in their Poughkeepsie, NY site for decades!
  16. @Cota

    No, it won't. That's like saying dropping a few Jell-O cubes in the middle of the pacific is going to turn the world's oceans into a gelatine desert. Ejecting warm water into the ocean is only an issue when it's concentrated and harms the natural ecosystem, if it's mixed with cold water and pumped back out it's not an issue as the amount of hot water required to be pumped into the ocean to have any effect would be massive.

    Imagine taking a teaspoon of hot water, mixing it with a glass of cold water and then pouring it into an olympic swimming pool. That's essentially the process involved here, but on a much larger scale (and actually even more extreme in terms of the ratio of hot to cold water).
  17. Jibberish18

    Jibberish18 TechSpot Maniac Posts: 431   +8

    I always wondered why people near cold sources of water, whether fresh or sea, didn't use the water to cool massive server systems.
  18. killeriii

    killeriii TechSpot Enthusiast Posts: 213   +14

    @ cota

    It's the lack of refrigerant that makes it more eco friendly.
  19. Zoltan Head

    Zoltan Head TechSpot Enthusiast Posts: 268   +27

    The water temperature can't be very similar on return, or it isn't going to cool anything?! :confused:
  20. dividebyzero

    dividebyzero trainee n00b Posts: 4,819   +651

    It's not a difficult concept, really.

    cold seawater in >> water heated by components >> water partially cooled by heat exchanger/radiator (air cooling) >> cold water added to further cool flowing through the cooling loop >> cold water returned to sea
  21. Zoltan Head

    Zoltan Head TechSpot Enthusiast Posts: 268   +27

    That's right, it's a simple concept, if the return temperature is similar, the cooling will be minimal, just as in the limit if the temperature is the same, no cooling will be achieved (of course the article doesn't say the return temperature is the same, just similar).
    Hope this helps.
  22. dividebyzero

    dividebyzero trainee n00b Posts: 4,819   +651

    Kind of depends on the heat exchanger wouldn't you think? You do realize how much heat a bank of servers puts out ?
    The system I'm using to send this has a stable water-to-ambient tempreture delta of exactly 1°C, with ~800ml of distilled water and ~230W heat dump (2600K @ 4.8GHz)

    Sorry about the sad picture quality- it's 10pm here and the study has recessed lighting...so bad flash it is.
  23. Zoltan Head

    Zoltan Head TechSpot Enthusiast Posts: 268   +27

    It doesn't depend on the heat exchanger at all, it's just high-school Physics, there is no net heat flow between regions of equal temperature.
  24. dividebyzero

    dividebyzero trainee n00b Posts: 4,819   +651

    Glad you cleared that up. I was always under the impression that thermal equilibrium tended to apply to a closed system...but since you say that it also applies to an open system it's nice to know I can do away with my watercooling and car radiators and not have to worry about a temperature rise.
    I was also under the impression that for that premise to hold true, that flow in had to equal flow out- which in the case of the article isn't the case.

    Thanks for the heads up. The more you know, huh!
  25. Zoltan Head

    Zoltan Head TechSpot Enthusiast Posts: 268   +27

    What thermal equilibrium?


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