The latest cool idea…


Today I’ve been reading about geothermal cooling use for data centers. In this post, I’m going to consider how this technology best applies.

Geothermal cooling takes advantage of the fact that, deep underground, the earth is a uniform cool temperature. This makes a great sink to dissipate large amounts of heat into.

There are a number of advantages to this type of cooling. There is virtually an unlimited amount of cooling available because the earth forms such a large heat sink. Since the deep temperature of the earth stays constant, cooling efficiency is consistent. Finally, the large difference between the sink temperature and the data center temperature improves efficiency as well.

What are the drawbacks of this type of cooling? The expense of drilling deep wells, the expense of active cooling equipment, and a relatively complex system.

So what to take away from this? In areas with cool outside ambient air temperatures, free air cooling is much less expensive to operate, less energy intensive, and less complex. Certainly geothermal cooling makes a great deal of sense where ambient outside air temperatures are too high to provide adequate cooling, otherwise, free air cooling makes far more sense.

Tag geothermal as quite green but not the greenest.

Vern, SwiftWater Telecom
Data center, telecom, and engineering services

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