The global energy impact of raising the space temperature for high-temperature data centers

Elsevier, Cell Reports Physical Science, Volume 4, 18 October 2023
Zhang Y., Li H., Wang S.

Ever-increasing energy consumption of data centers is a growing global concern. To tackle this problem, a high-temperature data center is proposed as a fundamental solution. It adopts a different cooling mechanism and makes “chiller-free” data centers possible, facilitating the transition from chiller-based cooling to completely free cooling in data centers. Here, we report the global energy impacts of adopting high-temperature data centers and critically analyze the trade-off between cooling-energy savings and server power rise using worldwide weather data and server performance data. Quantitative guidance and targets are established for developing “ideal” and “recommendable” servers, considering the server performance associated with the thermal environment. When raising the space temperature to 41°C (namely, the “global free-cooling temperature”), nearly all the land area can achieve 100% free cooling year round globally. Operating at this space temperature, up to 56% cooling-energy savings could be achieved compared with operating at a current typical space temperature of 22°C.