Green Colorado Data Center Design: DOE Liquid-Cooled Supercomputer

Hewlett Packard recently developed new technologies for greener, more energy efficient data centers, including a liquid-cooled supercomputer that was installed in the Energy Systems Integration Facility (ESIF) recently opened by the Department of Energy (DOE) in Golden, Colo. The new supercomputer, nicknamed “Peregrine,” can simulate fully integrated energy systems and deliver a peak performance of 1.2 quadrillion calculations per second. It’s also being called the world’s most energy-efficient high performance computing facility.

“[Peregrine] represents the world’s largest computing capability dedicated solely to renewable energy and energy efficient research,” stated DOE representatives.

The new ESIF data center will help organizations in several sectors sidestep obstacles associated with integrating clean energy and energy efficient technologies into their power infrastructure. The liquid-cooled supercomputer utilizes warm water in its design, eliminating the need for temperature controls in the cooling technology. Heat is reused from the computer system to warm office and lab space, as well as other areas on the campus.

Due to its innovative data center design, the DOE’s Colorado Data Center could in fact be one of the world’s most efficient data centers. Its current power usage efficiency rate stands at 1.06 or better.

A current trend in the data center design industry is the increased adoption of green solutions for reducing power consumption and cooling costs. In this way, HP is following in the footsteps of other organizations like eBay, whose data center utilizes Bloom fuel cells for the primary on-premise power source, helping the data center cut up to 75 percent of electricity costs.

Project representatives said that the DOE and HP are united in their ecosystem-oriented approach to data center innovation with the new liquid-cooled system.

“At NREL [the DOE’s National Renewable Energy Lab], we have taken a holistic approach to sustainable computing,” said NREL computational science director Steve Hammond at the project’s unveiling last year. “This new system will allow NREL to increase our computational capabilities while being mindful of energy and water used.”

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