The future of green computing is dunking your computer in mineral oil
As seemingly every aspect of our lives moves online, the giant building-size computers that power the web suck up ever more energy. Cooling can eat as much as a third of the energy required to run these "data centers," so fixing their heat problem (modern processors produce a lot of it) isn't just a matter of reducing carbon emissions.
Enter Green Revolution Cooling. You might as well just watch the video, above, because it is too weird for words. Their technology — dunking servers in mineral oil in order to cool them — works precisely because mineral oil is not electrically conductive. Also, those hard drives you see in there must be hermetically sealed. By keeping the servers in oil instead of air cooling them, Green Revolution claims it can cut cooling costs by half.
The physics here are so straightforward it's odd that we haven't seen this more often. Liquids conduct heat much better than air, which means it's much easier to carry heat away from these servers. Granted, there are other ways to cool the data center — Microsoft and others have lately taken to not cooling them at all, simply allowing outside air to blow through their data centers in a sort of screen-door approach to the problem.
Anyway, which is cooler, opening a window, or drenching your Big Iron in gallons of baby oil? We thought so.
Watch A Server Get Dunked In Oil, Earth2Tech.
Donate now to support our work.