The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today highlighted a new type of heat exchanger technology that performs better and uses less energy compared with the air-cooling technologies for computer chips currently on the market. This innovative technology, developed by DOE’s Sandia National Laboratories and dubbed the “Sandia Cooler,” is used to maintain operating temperatures for chips in large-scale IT systems such as data centers — where high efficiency innovations can lead to considerable energy and cost savings — and once commercially available, has the potential to be used in personal computers and other devices in the future. DOE’s Sandia National Laboratories is currently accepting applications from companies to license, manufacture, and market the device.
Computer systems must effectively remove heat to operate properly, but removing heat takes energy. This new type of heat exchanger displaces the heat produced by a computer chip more efficiently than traditional systems by using an improved rotating structure. Because this smaller, quieter and more efficient heat exchanger cools the chips in energy-intensive IT systems, it has the potential to significantly reduce the energy requirements of IT systems. An added benefit is that the performance doesn’t degrade over its lifespan like it can in current exchangers.
DOE identified heat exchangers as a crucial technology for research and development because they are used in many diverse applications. Heat exchangers are an essential component in equipment for homes and buildings such as heating and air conditioning systems, water heaters, lighting, refrigerators, personal computers, and many other appliances that generate heat as a by-product. With support from DOE, Sandia National Laboratories is developing similar heat exchanger designs to improve the performance of these everyday appliances. According to Sandia researchers, if the technology can be scaled up for wide use in appliances and other devices, it has the potential to reduce overall electric power consumption in the U.S. by more than seven percent.
Sandia National Laboratories is seeking applications from IT component manufacturers that are interested in licensing the technology for manufacture and commercialization. Interested companies are invited to review and respond to the solicitation through July 15, 2011. The solicitation can be found on the Federal Business Opportunities website.
A technical white paper on the Sandia Cooler technology is available for download.
- To learn more about how data centers use energy, view DOE’s Energy 101: Energy Efficient Data Centers video.
- Learn more about DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy and its collaboration with Sandia National Laboratories on DOE’s Energy Innovation Portal.
- Join the clean energy conversation on Facebook at DOE’s Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Energy Savers, and Solar Decathlon pages.