18 May 2017

K.4.5.1 Sustainable data centers and energy conversion technologies

Thermally mediated energy conversions create waste heat and have a limited efficiency because thermal gradients cannot be fully used mainly due to convective and conductive thermal resistances. To improve computer cooling thermal resistances were reduced tenfold against excellent predecessor technologies. With this a twofold improved datacenter energy efficiency and zero carbon footprint was demonstrated at large scale. Reduced thermal resistances enable high concentration photovoltaic thermal systems with reduced system cost, and electrical efficiencies beyond 30%. 90ºC waste heat is used for heat driven cooling and thermal desalination improving efficiency to 80%. Excellent conductive thermal contact and mass transport in adsorption heat pumps enable a much higher efficiency. The innovation is about materials with improved adsorption isotherm, reduced cycling time, and improved mass and thermal transport. This allows efficient heat use from datacenters and solar concentrators for cooling and a “thermal transformer”. The technologies allow smart combined grids and help to reduce dissipation of non-usable heat with its effects on global warming.