Blog Post

The 14 Winners of the DOE Data Center Efficiency Funds

While it’s only $47 million, the 14 data center efficiency projects that won grants from the DOE and the stimulus package this morning, hold the keys to some real computing power innovation. The projects tackle bleeding-edge technology like liquid-cooled servers, ambient air cooling, modular data centers, software that can dynamically manage power per usage, and wireless sensor networks that can target hotspots in the data center. Check out our table of what the tech firms plan to do with the funds:

Company Award Project
SeaMicro $9.3 million SeaMicro says it can reduce server energy use by 75 percent over conventional servers by re-architecting server components. In the project the company, which is backed by Khosla Ventures, Draper Fischer, and Crosslink Capital, plan to test their re-designed server systems that are made up by hundreds of low-power processors.
Yahoo (s YHOO) $9.92 million Yahoo plans to use the funds to develop a fully-integrated building design for a data center, including using outside ambient air for cooling.
HP (s HP) $7.43 million HP plans to use the funds to develop a modular data center with a direct current (DC) connection to link directly with renewable energy sources. The modular data center is targeted at small-to-medium sized businesses.
Power Assure $5.08 million Power Assure makes software and management systems that can make servers “on-demand” for web firms, eliminating the need to power data centers at peak power at all times.
Edison Materials Technology Center $2.84 million The center plans to test a technology that uses 100 percent liquid-cooled servers with off-the-shelf components.
Columbia University $2.8 million The university is working on technology that can make power conversions within servers more efficient.
Lineage Power Corporation $2.4 million Lineage is working on reducing the energy lost in power conversions, specifically in the converter that changes alternating current (AC) electricity to direct current (DC).
IBM T.J. Watson Research Center $2.35 million The research center is developing a liquid cooling system with a “liquid metal thermal interface,” that can combine with ambient air cooling that can reduce server cooling energy significantly.
Alcatel Lucent Bell Labs $1.82 million The lab is also working on a modular cooling technology that combines heat sinks and liquid cooling.
IBM T.J. Watson Research Center $1.67 million A project to reduce energy data center use via software management tools.
Federspiel Controls $584,078 The project combines cooling technology and data center wireless networks, and enables data center operators to dynamically manage speed of fans, adjust server fan inlets, and targeted cooling and air flow.
Alcatel Lucent, Bell Labs $300,000 The only project of the group specifically focused on telecom network energy efficiency, it will look at dynamically managing network demand with energy use.
California Institute of Technology $300,000 A project to look at managing the energy consumption of servers across data centers.
BAE Systems $222,031 A project to dynamically shift power of networks up and down based on use.

4 Responses to “The 14 Winners of the DOE Data Center Efficiency Funds”

  1. @Patrick Geothermal is best applied where the demand cycles between heating and coolong. If you constantly deposit heat to the surrounding earth, the earth will start to heat up. It will get to a point where the earth is earth is to warm to effectively deposit heat to it. Underground datacenters in Europe still have conventional CRAC or air handlers in them.

    Datacenters that have had success using geothermal cooling have done so using open loops. This typically requires access to large amounts of water: spring, lake, well, ocean. This does not apply to many sites. This is typically relagated to a few that have a source nearby or those large firms that seek it out.

    As for the grants above, I was hoping for some real ground breaking projects. Some of these projects sound like things that have already been done by others or in development already. I am a little disappointed.

  2. I’m curious to know why none of these so-called ‘research’ programs aren’t looking into using existing cool constant temperatures that exist underground. Similar concepts, such as placing data centers in caves, is being implemented in several places in Europe and at least one I know of in Pennsylvania. Either way, I’m glad to see more emphasis is being put on reducing energy consumption.