A data center cooling concept developed by Axiotherm GmbH and Frigoteam Handels GmbH was among the technologies honored at last month's Future Thinking conference in Darmstadt, Germany.
The concept, "Security of supply and emergency operation in data centers by integration of PCM cold storage," took third place in the energy technology category. Based on Axiotherm's HeatSel thermal storage technology, the system is designed to ensure the cooling of data centers in the event of a power outage. At the same time, the use of photovoltaic power and free cooling can increase system efficiency and reduce emissions during regular operations.
Axiotherm, a subsidiary of ESDA Technologie GmbH, specializes in developing macro-encapsulation of phase change materials for various applications. Dirk Büttner, Axiotherm's chief research officer, answered a few questions about the technology by e-mail:
Q: The award is based on a data center cooling concept, not a working model or pilot project, correct?
A: "Correct, the award is based on a cooling concept, but there have already been diverse Frigoteam cooling systems with the Axiotherm PCM-Storage implemented, only for other fields of application."
Q: Is this the system that you and Yvonne Reimann of Croda gave a presentation on at the 5th Swiss Symposium Thermal Energy Storage in Lucerne in January?
A: "Yes, the Axiotherm Hybrid-PCM-Storage was the central element of the presentation in Lucerne."
Q: Is CrodaTherm specified as the PCM used in the data cooling center concept?
A: "No, in this system a subzero PCM developed by Axiotherm."
Q: What are the peak melting points and energy storage capacities of the PCMs available for use in the system?
A: "Starting at -33°C up to +12°C. The storage capacity of the Hybrid-PCM-System is typically approximately 50 kWh /m3 (@dT = 10 K)."
Q: What are the dimensions of the HeatSel discs, and what are they made of?
A: There are two types of HeatSels, one with a diameter of 180 mm for smaller tanks, and one with a diameter of 270 mm for big tanks (with a diameter >1,20 m). The maximum layer thickness in both cases is less than 30 mm, therefore, compared to classical spherical elements, a four times higher thermal output power can be achieved. The (diffusion resistant) encapsulation material depends on the operating temperature, the basis are e.g. PP or PE-HD.
Q: What are the next steps in the development of this system, technically and commercially speaking?
A: "First step was the successful proof of concept and initial market entry through launching customers, like Frigoteam.
"The next step is the extension of distribution network through fast-following customers. Here we are looking for further potential strategic partnerships with fast-following customers, like tank manufacturers and manufacturers of cooling/heating systems.
"Another step is the diversification of customers for further applications, such as for industries working with process heat and cooling as well as manufacturers of air conditioning and further cooling systems."