The Impact of Immersion on Data Center Sustainability

Water, energy, infrastructure, & circularity

Written by

Published on

Back to resources
How to reach your data center sustainability goals

As more and more evidence points towards a climate crisis, it seems as though we’re not doing as much as we should to prevent catastrophic effects of climate change. Current projections indicate an increase of 9% in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, not even coming close to the essential target of 43% (UNEP). Plus, governments are planning to produce around 110% more fossil fuels in 2030 than would stop the global temperature rise from exceeding 1.5°C (UNEP).  

It’s never been so important to be conscious of your consumption, especially in power-hungry datacenters. In this blog post, we’ll explore how immersion cooling is an incredible force for optimizing water, energy, infrastructure, and circularity for the advancement of data center sustainability.

Data Center Sustainability: 4 Key Considerations

Water 

With half the world’s population subject to severe water scarcity for at least some part of the year and a 40% shortfall in freshwater resources expected by 2023 (IPCC), the scene for a global water crisis is certainly being set. Astonishingly, just one small 1MW data centre consumes 6.6 million gallons of water in just one year (Smart Water Magazine).  

One way to drastically reduce this footprint is by implementing immersion cooling, which helps by reducing both direct and indirect water consumption (IOPscience):

  • Immersion can deliver zero direct water consumption through dry cooling​.
  • Overall datacenter energy efficiency reduces indirect water consumption associated with energy production.

Energy Efficiency

The estimated global datacenter electricity consumption in 2022 was around 1-1.3% of the global final electricity demand (IEA). The sum of the electricity used by tech giants more than doubled between 2017 and 2021, rising to around 72 TWh in 2021 (IEA).

Immersion helps by reducing the energy consumption of IT equipment & cooling systems: 

  • By maximizing cooling efficiency with this technology, you can reduce your datacenter’s mPUE down to 1.03 and standard PUE to 1.10.
  • Immersion cooling irradiates <2% of heat into the data hall. Plus, you transition from precision cooling to a broad cooling approach i.e., cooling individual tanks as opposed to cooling a data hall.
  •  It means you maximize your IT efficiency, since immersion cooling requires no fans, (5-7% of a server’s energy (ResearchGate)) and decreases server leakage current by ∼5%.  
  • Optimize space with 100 kW in one single tank (Air Handling Units (AHUs) and plenums are not required).
  • While the energy consumed by a data centre using air cooling is rejected as heat into the atmosphere, with immersion you have the opportunity for heat reuse.  

Optimizing Infrastructure 

For any and all stakeholders, a TCO reduction is mission-critical. Some have turned to increasing the ambient temperature of their data hall which results in a lower PUE; however, this has a negative impact on impact on server performance and reliability.  Sites for datacenters are becoming few and far between as regional regulations creep up on DC builders, especially when it comes to utilities and resources.

Immersion helps by reducing space and costs, future-proofing, and efficiently managing resources. With a space reduction of 50-70%, this technology allows you to increase the density per square foot (up to 140 kW in the space of one single tank!).    

Reusing waste heat with immersion cooling
Image || Submer

For greenfield builds, the process becomes much more efficient; there is less mechanical infrastructure, meaning a lower CAPEX as a result, and the buildings required are simpler and smaller. From an OPEX perspective, it’s more cost-effective – think of the water, footprint, and energy you’ll save on. As a result of the compute in immersion having an extended lifespan, expect IT Hardware savings.

Circularity  

As demand grows, resources are becoming scarcer – particularly those comprised of rare materials. Controversies surround aspects such as energy usage and the labor being employed to obtain these resources.

Immersion helps by repurposing, reusing & future-proofing:

  • By increasing the HW lifespan, IT HW refresh rates are reduced, diverting EOL IT HW from landfills and minimizing the environmental impact. MTBF is extended as a result of no airborne particles and temperature stability.  
  • Existing datacenters can be retrofitted to function without water consumption and with a fraction of the energy used beforehand.
  • Innovations such as the FCHS package to come from our collaboration with Intel support silicon roadmaps tied to densification.

Furthermore, immersion cooling captures up to 98% heat in the form of warm fluid. Hyperscalers and the European Union are leading the way with several heat reuse projects already implemented. 

Data Center Sustainability: Time for Change 

To sum up, immersion cooling can help with your data center sustainability goals by reducing water consumption, enhancing energy efficiency, optimizing infrastructure, and championing circularity. The path to a climate-conscious, highly efficient datacenter is well within reach – and all it takes is getting in touch with us!

Stay in the Submer Loop

Subscribe to our customized & conscious newsletter.

Share this post

Keep exploring related content