Cooled with water – Climate neutral and energy efficient

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How to cool industrial facilities or server rooms carbon neutrally and energy efficiently? Cooling with water is the answer.

Rising temperatures lead to an increased need for cooling. But cooling facilities often use coolants which release hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) during the cooling process – which in turn increases carbon emissions. Thus the vicious circle of adding cooling facilities to cope with rising temperatures is perpetuated.

Sparkasse-IT GmbH & Co. KG in Calw, Baden-Württemberg has broken this pattern. Instead of implementing HFCs, the 18 server cabinets in the building’s basement are cooled with water. When outdoor temperatures are under 12°C, the water is air-cooled and cools the servers via a heat exchanger.

Once outside temperatures rise above 12°C, an Efficient Energy GmbH refrigerating machine takes over, circulating water instead of conventional coolants. The cooling component combines two water circulation systems – a cooling water circulation that transfers heat to the outside via a heat exchanger and cold water circulation that cools the servers. The cooling component generates 20 to 45 kW in the process.

Gebrüder Schwarz GmbH in Swabian’s Rottweil applies the same technology to cool their injection molding workstations. A cold water supply is stored in the business’s basement. Two refrigerating machines do the cooling. When outdoor temperatures are under 12°C, the company relies on air-cooling, which saves them 250,000 kW/h annually. Once the outdoors warm to over 12°C, Efficient Energy GmbH’s 120-kW refrigerating machines render the needed cooling energy. Of course, here, too, water is the sole coolant.

This company, at home in Feldkirchen by Munich, intends to expand their technology’s applications, working toward refrigerating equipment with a cascade-like combination of carbon and water to increase cooling performance. Ideally, the carbon will be extracted from the air. The entire process becomes climate-neutral when plants draw their power from green energy.

But what about the waste heat generated by cooling systems? This, too, can be used when waste heat exceeds a certain energy level. More on this in the linked video: