SBIR Phase I: Mineral oil cooling for energy and cost efficient data centers

Award Information
Agency: National Science Foundation
Branch: N/A
Contract: 0945346
Agency Tracking Number: 0945346
Amount: $200,000.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2010
Solicitation Year: 2010
Solicitation Topic Code: BC
Solicitation Number: NSF 09-541
Small Business Information
GR Cooling
4409 Enclave Cove, Austin, TX, 78731
DUNS: 828680186
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Christiaan Best
 (512) 771-2902
Business Contact
 Christiaan Best
Title: MS
Phone: (512) 771-2902
Research Institution
This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)Phase I project proposes to develop a high performance mineral oil submersion cooling system for computer servers. While CPU (Central Processing Unit) over-clocking offers the potential to increase output from existing servers by up to 30%, it will also increase the heat generated in a small space in a non-linear fashion likely affecting server reliability. Inefficient cooling is a key driver in data center energy consumption, which has recently risen from 1% of US electricity to a predicted 3%. Mineral oil is better and heat dissipation than air, providing better cooling performance to allow over-clocking of computer servers while reducing the amount of cooling energy needed. The proposed Phase I research objectives are to: (i) design and install a cooling system specifically for high performance cooling; (ii) investigate and implement the best method to over-clock servers; (iii) document server performance and cooling requirements of an over-clocked system over a range of CPU clock speeds; (iv) document and improve system ease-of-use and ergonomics. The anticipated technical result is to quantify the performance and cost and energy benefits of a mineral oil immersion cooling system for over-clocked servers. The broader impact/commercial potential of this project comes from (a) increasing server processing power while (b) lowering energy use and (c) lowering build-out costs of a computer data center. For computational-heavy research institutions, over-clocking offers the potential to solve more of society's research needs with fewer resources as computer servers would perform significantly more computations than before. Also, lowering the energy of a large contributor to incremental US electricity demand will greatly benefit the environment. Finally, the build-out costs of a data center, which scales roughly in-line with power consumption, will also be greatly reduced as cooling energy is reduced.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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