Cooling the Data

UTA-led project explores new technology to cool data centers

Dereje Agonafer


According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), data centers account for approximately 2% of total U.S. electricity consumption, while data center cooling can account for up to 40% of data center energy usage overall. Finding ways to cool data centers more efficiently translates into money saved for all.

Dereje Agonafer, Presidential Distinguished University Professor in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, is employing a $2.84 million award from the DOE to develop hybrid cooling technology that will aid high-power data centers and server farms.

“The proposed hybrid cooling can save technology companies that employ the servers a massive amount of money in energy costs,” says Dr. Agonafer. “In turn, that reduction in operating costs could be passed along to the consumer.”

The grant is part of the DOE’s COOLERCHIPS (Cooling Operations Optimized for Leaps in Energy, Reliability, and Carbon Hyperefficiency for Information Processing Systems) program. The co-principal investigators are Damena Agonafer (’04 BS, Mechanical Engineering), University of Maryland; Nenad Miljkovic , University of Illinois; and Sumanta Acharya, Illinois Institute of Technology. Roger Schmidt, a member of the National Academy of Engineering and a renowned expert in liquid cooling, is a consultant on the project.

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