Trio to develop LNG-based data center cooling technology

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The National University of Singapore’s Faculty of Engineering (NUS), Keppel, and Singapore LNG have joined forces to develop a new, LNG-based, cooling technology for data centers.

Singapore is the leading data center hub of Southeast Asia and accounts for around 50 percent of the region’s data center capacity in 2015.

Due to the high internal load and the need for consistent cooling and operation in a tightly-controlled environment, data centers are among the major power consumers in the building sector, which is around seven percent of the total annual electricity consumption in the country.

Keppel said that the project would attempt to demonstrate a way of storing cold energy released from the LNG re-gasification process and using it to cool data centers efficiently.

A team from NUS, Keppel, and SLNG will jointly develop a prototype of a new cooling medium that can store and carry cold energy from the Singapore LNG terminal to various data centers, and be circulated within the cooling loop in each data center.

The technology, called Semiclathrate Thermal Energy Carrier System (ScTECS), can potentially enable data centers to improve their power usage effectiveness (PUE) by 20 percent.

Another innovation that the team intends to pursue is to harness and utilize LNG cold energy from LNG re-gasification terminals and use it to offset the energy demands in data centers.

Cold energy generated from LNG re-gasification could be stored in phase change materials and distributed to data centers for cooling purposes.

Keppel and SLNG are working together to explore ways to harness and utilize the cold energy from the Singapore LNG Terminal. SLNG will provide key technical inputs and advice related to the LNG cold energy to the team.