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Swedish Data Center Saves $1M a Year Using Seawater For Cooling 78

alphadogg writes "A data center in Sweden has cut its energy bills by a million dollars a year using seawater to cool its servers, though jellyfish are an occasional hazard. Interxion, a collocation company in the Netherlands that rents data center space in 11 countries, uses water pumped from the Baltic Sea to cool the IT equipment at its facilities in Stockholm. The energy used to cool IT equipment is one of the costliest areas of running a data center. Companies have traditionally used big, mechanical chillers, but some are turning to outside air and evaporative techniques as lower-cost alternatives."
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Swedish Data Center Saves $1M a Year Using Seawater For Cooling

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  • by GumphMaster ( 772693 ) on Friday May 17, 2013 @01:43AM (#43748939)

    The zebra mussel is a freshwater creature. I'd be surprised if they had large problems with these in their seawater cooling circuit. I guess the salt will get them first.

  • by Nutria ( 679911 ) on Friday May 17, 2013 @02:01AM (#43749031)

    Back when our basement data center housed 70s and 80s era IBM mainframes and their accoutrement (a dozen or so tape drives and a huge 3380 farm) , the building vented cold upstate NY winter air into the DC.

    A few years after the final ECL mainframes and 3380s were replaced by "z" mainframes and EMC SANs, the vent was blocked up.

  • by Bearhouse ( 1034238 ) on Friday May 17, 2013 @05:23AM (#43749805)

    Most thermal systems, be it in cogeneration/district heating, or even traditional power stations, still end up dumping some residual heat as waste into the environment.
    It seems nuts, but it gets to a point where the temperature differential/gradient is simply not enough to justify an industrial process to recover the heat efficiently.
    For example, if you were trying to heat your house with water that was only a few degrees above ambient, well, you'd probably not be very happy.

    Still, sometimes it works out OK, like the example (in France, from memory), where waste heat from a nuclear reactor is used to heat ponds to grow tropical shrimps, and greenhouses for fruit.

    By the time the water finally returns to the river, thermal impact is virtually zero, minimising local ecological disruption.

  • by shitzu ( 931108 ) on Friday May 17, 2013 @06:25AM (#43750101)

    Strangest thing is - Sweden is a relatively cold country where people pay for heating. And for hot water in the summertime. Can't all this excess (heat)energy be put to good use instead of dumping it to the sea?

  • by nblender ( 741424 ) on Friday May 17, 2013 @07:51AM (#43750481)

    I'm not using sea-water so maybe this is only tangentially interesting ... The water that comes out of my 10gpm well is at 8C. When I had my new forced-air furnace installed, I asked the installer to put in an evaporator coil to prepare for future air-conditioning... Cost me an extra $180. Later I removed the orifice, hooked up a solenoid valve wired to my furnace. I plumbed well water through the evaporator coil and directed the waste water outside to an outdoor faucet which, in the summer, is hooked up to soaker hoses to water the flower beds... The plants like the warmish water and, while not terribly efficient cooling, it does manage to keep the inside of the house below 22C when outside temps are over 30C... The house has a lot of solar heat load due to big windows with mountain views on the west side and even with awnings up, would get excruciatingly hot without some cooling assistance... My only operating cost is the electricity to pull the water out of the ground

    I could probably make better use of the waste water by sprinkling it on the roof before collecting from the eaves and doing drip irrigation on the flower beds, but that will be a project for another year.

    (This is in Southern Alberta)

  • by mikael ( 484 ) on Friday May 17, 2013 @08:53AM (#43750897)

    Some rural industrial estates were using their hot air from their cooling systems to grow plants.

    One placed I worked in had the external parts of their air conditioning in a ground level sheltered car park. The heat was so incredible, that you could comfortably walk around in this bubble of warm air in a T-shirt or short-sleeve in the middle of Winter. The only was homeless people wandering by and building makeshift tents around one or more of the units in winter, tripping various CPU temperature alarms.

Perfection is acheived only on the point of collapse. - C. N. Parkinson