Region IX Chapter 77

May Chapter Meeting: Thermosyphon Cooler Hybrid System for Water Savings in an Energy-Efficient HPC Data Center: Modeling and Installation

  • 23 May 2017
  • 5:30 PM - 7:00 PM
  • Pappadeuax Seafood Kitchen, 5011 Pan American Fwy NE, Albuquerque, NM 87109


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Topic: Thermosyphon Cooler Hybrid System for Water Savings in an Energy-Efficient HPC Data Center: Modeling and Installation

Speaker: Thomas P. Carter, P.E.

$25.00 Regular Member Ticket

$30.00 Guest Ticket


Presentation Info

The Thermosyphon Cooler Hybrid System (TCHS) integrates the control of a dry heat rejection device, the Thermosyphon Cooler (TSC), with an open cooling tower. A combination of equipment and controls, this new heat rejection system embraces a “smart use of water,” using evaporative cooling when it is most advantageous and then saving water and modulating towards increased dry sensible cooling as system operations and ambient weather conditions permit. Innovative fan control strategies assure the most economical balance between water savings and parasitic fan energy. The unique low-pressure-drop design of the TSC allows water to be cooled directly by the TSC evaporator without risk of bursting tubes in sub-freezing ambient conditions.

     Johnson Controls partnered with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) along with Sandia National Laboratories to deploy the TSC as a test bed at NREL’s high-performance computing (HPC) data center in the first half of 2016. Located in NREL’s Energy Systems Integration Facility (ESIF), this HPC data center has achieved an annualized average power usage effectiveness (PUE) rating of 1.06 or better since 2012. Warm-water liquid cooling is used to capture heat generated by computer systems direct to water; that waste heat is either reused as the primary heat source in the ESIF building or rejected using evaporative cooling. This data center is the single largest source of water and power demand on the NREL campus, using about 7600 m3 (2.0 million gallons) of water per megawatt (3.4 million Btu/hr) of IT load over the past year—so dramatically reducing water use while continuing efficient data center operation is of significant interest. As Sandia’s climate is similar to NREL’s, this new heat rejection system being deployed at NREL has gained interest at Sandia. Sandia’s data centers utilize an hourly average of 8.5 megawatts (29 million Btu/hr) and are also one of the largest consumers of water on Sandia’s site.

     In addition to describing the operation and installation of the TSC and its integration into the ESIF building, this paper focuses on the full heat rejection system simulation program used for hourly analysis of the energy and water consumption of the complete system under varying operating scenarios. Preliminary data from the site will also be shared.  This presentation is based on a paper recently presented at the 2017 ASHRAE Winter Conference.


Speaker Bio

Tom Carter is the Senior Program Manager, Heat Rejection Technology, for Johnson Controls focusing on innovative water saving heat rejection, system configuration, and controls technologies. Prior to joining Johnson Controls in 2011, Tom had a 34 year career at Baltimore Aircoil Company, primarily related to R&D activities involving evaporative heat and mass transfer and thermal energy storage. Tom is a registered Professional Engineer in Maryland and a named inventor on 22 U.S. patents.  He holds a BS degree in Mechanical Engineering from Purdue University and a MS in Computer Science from the Johns Hopkins University. 

Tom is a Member of the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE). He recently served on SPC-22, Methods of Testing for Rating Water-Cooled Refrigerant Condensers, and SPC-181P, Methods of Testing for Rating Liquid to Liquid Heat Exchangers. Tom was past Chairman of ASHRAE’s Technical Committee 8.6 (Cooling Towers and Evaporative Condensers) and past Chairman of ASHRAE Standards Committee (SPC-64) which revised the standard for testing Evaporative Condensers.

He was previously active on a number of technical committees in the Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI): serving as past Vice Chair, of the Research and Technology (R&T) Committee, past member of the AHRI R&T Refrigeration Subcommittee, past member of the Standards Policy Committee (SPC), past member of the SPC’s Cooling Standards Subcommittee. He also served as past member, and past Vice Chair of the Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Technology Institute (ARTI) Steering Committee. 

Tom is an associate Member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME). He served as a past member of the ASME Energy-Water Nexus Interdisciplinary Council and past member of the CRTD Research Committee on Water Management Technology. He currently serves as a member of the WEG Subcommittee on Cooling Systems.

Tom has authored and co-authored numerous technical papers for ASHRAE, ASME, the Cooling Technology Institute (CTI), and the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI).

Last revised: 08.23.2018
by: Stacey Chan

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