The Installation of Direct Water-Cooling Systems to Reduce Cooling Energy Requirements for High-Performance Computing Centers

Publication Type

Conference Paper

Date Published



A large cluster of High-Performance Computing (HPC) equipment at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California was retrofitted with an Asetek cooling system. The Asetek system is a hybrid scheme with water-cooled cold plates on high-heat-producing components in the information technology (IT) equipment, and with the remainder of the heat being removed by conventional air-cooling systems. In order to determine energy savings of the Asetek system, data were gathered and analyzed two ways: using top-down statistical models, and bottom-up engineering models. The cluster, "Cabernet", rejected its heat into a facilities cooling water loop which in turn rejected the heat into the same chilled water system serving the computer-room air handlers (CRAHs) that provided the air-based cooling for the room. Because the "before" and "after" cases both reject their heat into the chilled water system, the only savings is due to reduction in CRAH fan power. The top-down analysis showed a 4% overall energy savings for the data center (power usage effectiveness (PUE) —the ratio of total data center energy to IT energy— dropped from 1.60 to 1.53, lower is better); the bottom-up analysis showed a 3% overall energy savings (PUE from 1.70 to 1.66) and an 11% savings for the Cabernet system by itself (partial PUE of 1.51). Greater savings, on the order of 15-20%, would be possible if the chilled water system was not used for rejecting the heat from the Asetek system. About 37% of the heat from the Cab system was rejected to the cooling water, lower than at other installations.

Conference Name

ACEEE 2020 Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings

Year of Publication


Refereed Designation