EINDHOVEN – Cooling computer chips with high-pressure liquid is the future, believes Incooling.
Just search for the route on your phone, order clothes on your iPad at Amazon or post a photo on Instagram. Data is needed for all these actions. We use more and more data and that all has to be processed in data centres. A lot of energy is needed to cool the computer servers in those data centres. And that could be more energy efficient, thinks the Eindhoven-based company Incooling.
“Now they mainly use air cooling,” says Rudie Verweij, managing director. “That is not efficient, because it cools the entire room which is why we believe that cooling with liquid is the future. That way you can cool the chip right at its heat source. The way we do that is inspired by cooling technology they use at CERN, a research institute in Switzerland.”
During a venture-acceleration program at HighTechXL, the company came into contact with the technology. ,, We have developed a cooling block that you can place on the chip that uses high-pressure 2-phase liquid refrigerant. The coolant absorbs the heat and comes out as a gas. We are still investigating what we can do with that residual heat. “
Verweij, who was studying computer animation, himself noticed the problems that overheating in computers can cause when he was working for an animation studio. ,, I was responsible for the data centre. The computers were slower due to the high temperatures and that was at the expense of performance quality. We can solve that problem. Cooling with this technology has three important advantages. It ensures lower energy costs. In addition, the chips last longer. You can keep them at a constant temperature. This ensures that they suffer less damage, caused by temperature fluctuations. The current chips are very powerful but it’s the heat that slows them down, preventing form utilising their full potential.”
According to Incooling, there are multiple ways to cool data centres and they can co-exist as well ,, We think that our way can be used for multiple applications, although we first focus on the computing power of chips. We want to sell our cooling systems and associated infrastructure to chip manufacturers. It includes a pump, control technology and piping system through which you can pump the refrigerant on the coldplate. We will deploy the first cooling systems in data centres next year.”
According to Rudie, this is is only the beginning. ,, We want to get closer to the heat source. We are working towards a cooling system in the chips themselves. We discussed this with the four major chip manufacturers such as Intel, IBM, AMD and Nvidia. We are now continuing discussions with one of them. “Incooling is also working with Eindhoven Startup Alliance in which, among others, Philips and ASML are participating.” We want to do more with the technological possibilities to further reduce energy consumption. If the energy is used more efficiently, more chips can be used. It would be nice if we were could install it in large data centres. I am thinking of data centres from Amazon, Google or Facebook. You can really make a difference there. “
Read the original article here (in Dutch)
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