Could Heat Energy Be The Next Wave Of Cooling?

Air compressor sales in the U.S. are expected to increase by 6.1 percent by 2020, and they might increase more if newer innovations in cooling systems have anything to say about that. It might sound odd, but computer technology companies have recently seen success in a new method of cooling servers—heat.

Heating is Cool

The system uses simple physics, and it's design isn't that complex. If anything, it works similarly to an air conditioner. One heat pump helps move the heat between areas. Since heated air contains more energy, the particles in those patches of air are less dense. That means it naturally moves to areas of lower density, which are made by cooler temperatures.

Although the recently invented cooling system is a little more advanced, it works off the same principle. Since the servers generate a lot of heat, the idea is to absorb as much of that heat as possible by containing it in one area, or a heat collecting chamber. Air compressors (try this) can be used to help push the air around into the heat collecting chambers. However, water is also stored and contained within that area, which generates water vapor. As the water gives off vapor, a vapor-collecting material, similar to the silicon desiccants found in vitamin bottles or beef jerky bags, collects the vapor.

When this happens, a cooling effect occurs within the heat collecting chamber. That air is then pumped out using the compressor and used to cool the system.

Reversing the Process

So how can engineers reverse the process so that the water vapor can return to the heat collection chambers? The answer is simple—heat waste.

Despite the fact that this system will cool the servers and processors, they still create a lot of heat waste, or heat energy that is created through the process of exchanging energy. This not only occurs from the heat generated by the servers but also from the system itself. If needed, the air compressor can also compress the hot air allowing the heat energy to escape.

This hot air is then forced into the vapor collection chamber, releasing the vapor and returning it to the heat chamber, in effect, resetting the system. That's one of the major bonuses of this set up, too. It uses water instead of an expensive and potentially wasteful refrigerant. Additionally, the system requires very little electricity to run and could save future businesses cut their heating and cooling energy costs.