Supercomputer will help New Mexicans save 20 million gallons of water a year | KOB 4

Supercomputer will help New Mexicans save 20 million gallons of water a year

Brett Luna
Updated: February 19, 2020 06:41 PM
Created: February 19, 2020 06:16 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - The Sandia Computing Center is working on installing new supercomputer cooling units that will help save money, water and energy.  

On top of the roof at the Sandia Computing Center sits a thermosyphon, which is responsible for cooling the supercomputers. The refrigeration unit uses passive refrigeration to take the heat from the computer into a chamber, and the refrigerant actually cools itself. 


"It's all shell and tube all the way through, and the liquid remains in these tubes, and then drops back down here to cool the water off going back into the data center," said Dave Martinez, a Sandia engineer and the project lead.

The unit saves a lot of energy by not using chillers, but most importantly, it saves a lot of water. 

"There is no evaporation, no water,” Martinez said. “We dissipate just as much heat as a liquid coolant…Within a year, we've saved a little over a million gallons of water."

The cooling unit can be used most of the year, but there are times when it cannot be used. The temperature of the process water, which goes through the computers, is 90 degrees. As long as the air temperature is four degrees below that, the system can run. This means the unit cannot be used on hot summer days. 

"So, our effort on the inside is to elevate the temperatures to like 110-120 degrees, so basically we can be able to use this system probably 95% of the year," Martinez said. 

Martinez hopes to install three more cooling units in the future. Once they can get the water temperatures up and into the data center, he said they will be able to save just under 20 million gallons of water per year.

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