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NEC Develops Energy Saving Cooling Technology for Data Centers- Hardware fan power consumption reduced by more than 60% -

*** For immediate use March 8, 2012

Tokyo, March 8, 2012 - NEC Corporation (NEC; TSE: 6701) announced today the development of energy saving technology that effectively cools the heat generated by 1U servers (*1) that are widely used in data centers.

This newly developed technology was deployed with 1U servers, where it used phase change cooling (*2) based on the property of a coolant that turns from a liquid to a vapor to move thermal energy. This design allows the transfer of a large amount of heat and the optimization of the airflow by cooling fans inside the server.

The technology reduces the power consumed by cooling fans inside a 1U server by more than 60% compared to current air cooling methods. This new technology enables data centers to reduce cooling power by more than 20%, where cooling power amounts to approximately half of the power consumed by a data center.

Key features of the newly developed technology are as follows:

  1. Thin profile phase change cooling modules
    This new design uses vapor-liquid equilibrium (*3) making it possible to install phase change cooling modules in 1U servers and other thin profile IT devices.

  2. Fin structure that efficiently transfers heat from the CPU
    A new fin structure that efficiently transfers heat of 100W or more has been developed for sections receiving heat from the CPU. This is accomplished by circulating refrigerant using vapor-liquid two-phase flow (*4), which increases the amount of heat transferred for a given volume. This method transfers several times more heat than heat pipes which are widely used in notebook computers and use only vapor to transfer heat.

  3. Reduction of overall airflow through the server, optimization of airflow inside the machine
    In addition to reducing the overall volume of airflow in the server, air ducts have been developed that cool heat generating components other than the CPU, such as chipsets and memories, thereby optimizing the efficiency of internal cooling systems.

Data centers require a large number of IT machines, which complicates airflow and results in local areas of high temperature. In order to cool these areas, a large volume of airflow is needed, a major reason for the inefficiency of cooling power consumption. This technology addresses these issues without requiring significant improvements in a data center's facilities. The technology helps save energy by reducing the volume of air being moved by the air conditioning systems, thereby reducing overall power consumption.

These cooling modules were developed as part of research conducted by the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization's (NEDO) "Research and Development Project for Green Network/System Technology," which NEC has participated in since 2008.

Going forward, NEC aims to continue developing cooling technologies that help reduce power consumption for a wide range of devices.



*1 A server with a height of 44.45 millimeters that can be installed in a server rack

*2 Phase change cooling
When a refrigerant changes from a liquid to a vapor or changes from a vapor to a liquid, a movement of heat is caused.

*3 Vapor-liquid equilibrium
The phenomenon where the speed of a liquid changing into a vapor is equal to the speed at which the vapor is changing into a liquid. As a result of this phenomenon, the surface of the liquid coolant inside both the heat receiving part and the radiator part can be the same height while still allowing the coolant to circulate.

*4 Vapor-liquid two-phase flow
Where coolant flows in both a liquid state and a vapor state mixed together. The amount of heat transferred is several times larger than the amount of heat transferred using a heat pipe, in which heat is transferred only by vapor. This is used in boilers and other applications.

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NEC Press Contacts (Japan)

Takehiko Kato
NEC Corporation

Joseph Jasper
NEC Corporation