Facebook unveiled a new evaporative cooling system that uses water instead of air. Developed with Nortek Air over the course of 2 years, The StatePoint Liquid Cooling (SPLC) system will be deployed in places where the environment makes direct cooling unfeasible. SPLC brings notable efficiency gains.
The social network tries to cool most of its data centers using outdoor air (direct evaporative cooling) but some locations have harsh environmental conditions. Dust, extreme humidity and elevated salinity all can interfere with direct cooling. SPLC is engineered to suit a variety of harsh environmental conditions.
The new indirect cooling system can reduce water usage by more than 20% for data centers in hot and humid climates, and upwards of 90% in cooler climates. The system will eliminate the need for mechanical cooling in several locations and requires less square footage in order to cool effectively.
SPLC produces cold water instead of cold air. The system uses a liquid-to-air energy exchanger, which cools water as it evaporates through a membrane separation layer. The membrane layer is the new piece; heat transferred through evaporation was not possible in previous indirect cooling systems. The cold water cools the air inside the data center, making sure those servers are snug in optimal temperatures. The membrane prevents cross-contamination between water and air streams, keeping the water circuit clean. The liquid cooling system is highly resilient, according to Facebook.
Facebook PUE hits 1.10
Facebook is at the forefront of data center design, with a fleet-wide power usage effectiveness of 1.10. That means only 10% of energy is used for non-computing tasks (supporting facility infrastructure). It’s an elite PUE, usually only achieved by larger, efficient tech giants like Google and Microsoft. To give an idea of how great a PUE it is, data centers averaged a PUE of 1.9 in 2011, according to Uptime Institute. However, that number includes legacy enterprise data centers and was a noted improvement from 2007 (2.50 PUE average).