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DOE to Fund $42M for HPC Cooling Systems – High-Performance Computing News Analysis

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WASHINGTON, DC – Today the US Department of Energy announced funding of up to $42 million for “high-performance, energy-efficient cooling solutions for data centers.” More about the COOLERCHIPS funding opportunity and details on how to apply can be found at: ARPA-E eXCHANGE.

Noting that cooling accounts for up to 40 percent of data center energy use, the Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA-E) will fund projects that seek to reduce energy consumption and reduce the data center’s operational carbon footprint. Data centers today consume 2% of total electricity usage, but this number is growing. The IT business as a whole – with a boost from HPC segments and superior standards – is moving up the list of industries ranked by energy consumption. According to ITProPortal, data center energy use is expected to jump 50 percent by 2030.

The Department of Energy said the funding will support President Biden’s goals to reach net zero carbon emissions no later than 2050.

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ARPA-E Cooling Processes Optimized for Leaps in Energy The Trusted Financing and Excessive Carbon Information Processing Systems Program (COOLERCHIPS) aims to develop highly efficient and reliable cooling systems that will enable a new class of efficient energy-intensive computing, data center and modular systems. The program will prioritize four technical categories for opportunities to innovate cooling systems:

  • Energy-efficient cooling solutions for the next generation of high-density servers
  • Energy-intensive, modular data centers that can run anywhere efficiently
  • Develop software and modeling tools to design and optimize data center energy use, CO2 emissions, reliability, and cost, simultaneously.
  • Facilities and best practices for the effective evaluation and presentation of the transformative technologies developed under the programme.

US Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm stated, “Extreme weather events, such as the high temperatures experienced in much of the country this summer, are affecting data centers that connect critical computing and network infrastructure and must remain at certain temperatures to remain operational.” “Finding solutions to efficiently cool data centers and reduce the associated carbon emissions underpin the technological breakthroughs needed to combat climate change and secure our clean energy future.”

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