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Evaporative Cooling Strategies and Phase Change Material Applications for Leveling Data Center Cooling Loads
Keywords: evaporative cooling, phase change material, data center
Data centers strive for 24/7/365 operation with 100% up-time and requires continuous cooling to maintain the higher computing performance. Also the demand for sustainable, energy efficient and cost effective heating and cooling solutions is exponentially increasing with the rapid advancement of computation and information technology. Majority of data center are equipped with direct-expansion cooling units, which accounts for approximately 50% of the energy usage. However, the air-side economization is the alternative cooling strategy along with the combination of evaporative and auxiliary direct expansion (DX) cooling which can replace the DX system and convert expense to revenue. Evaporative cooling with air-side economization whenever possible is applicable in all climate zones in the United States. In this work, the characterization of the various direct evaporative cooling (DEC) media for maintaining the air condition within the predefined envelop is being performed. DEC media are tested in Air-flow bench for varying face velocities and water flow rates to measure the temperature drop, pressure drop and saturation efficiency for each case. Evaporative cooling experiences a limitation at combined high ambient temperature and high humidity which does not directly limit direct expansion systems. At their high temperature operating limit, the cooling capacity reaches saturation and no amount of added water provides lower temperatures. In the interest of expanding the reach of evaporative cooling systems, this study also considers use of Phase Change Material to store the excess cooling during the favorable conditions and then this stored capacity is accessed at more-demanding conditions which typically occur during the hottest part of the day. The outcome of this study will provide better understanding for implementing effective evaporative cooling solutions and the possible use of PCM in pushing the limits of evaporative cooling.
Abhishek Guhe, Graduate Student
University of Texas at Arlington
Arlington, Texas

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