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Google Uses Ice Cubes To Cool Overseas Data Centers

Google Uses Ice Cubes To Cool Overseas Data Centers

Before modern refrigeration technology was available, people used huge blocks of ice for cooling and food preservation. Air conditioning replaced this practice many years ago, but Google thinks it’s worth a second look. The search engine giant will use ice to cool its new $700 million data centers in Taiwan, saving both energy and money.

The process is known as “thermal storage” and it reduces energy bills by allowing companies to run air conditioning systems at night, when power rates are cheaper.

A typical energy storage system, notes Katie Fehrenbacher at GigaOm, is literally a giant ice-maker that sits next to a conventional air conditioning system. The unit freezes 450 gallons of water overnight, creating a giant ice block that acts like a“battery” of cold. The ice can then be used in place of a conventional A/C compressor for at least 6 hours on the following day. Using a thermal storage system like this also helps reduce demand on the electricity grid, which is notoriously unreliable in Asia during the summer months.

“We’re very excited to be building this data center in Taiwan,” said Lee-Feng Chien, Managing Director, Google Taiwan. “We’re working as fast as we can to start bringing it online by the second half of 2013, so we can keep up with the rapid growth in capacity demand across the region, and to hire the team of around 25 full time Googlers that will manage the facility when it’s fully operational.

Related Reading:

It’s Getting Hot In Here: Japanese Execs Shed Clothes To Save Energy

Your DVR Wastes More Energy Than Your Refrigerator

Heat Waves And Our Aging Electrical Grid

via Grist

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Image via Thinkstock

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42 comments

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11:19PM PDT on Jun 24, 2012

LD B, the article says Google's using this partly because it supposedly saves energy, not just because it spares the power grid at peak times.

10:44PM PDT on Jun 24, 2012

If it's really more energy efficient (lots of 'green' technologies and practices claim to be, but aren't) and works as well at cooling as conventional AC, great. I'm all for efficiency, saving money, and sparing the power grid when possible. But if the company's just using an inferior cooling system because it thinks it can get away with something in Asia that it couldn't in the U.S., shame on them.

11:37AM PDT on Apr 11, 2012

Interesting article, thanks. ;)

10:15AM PDT on Apr 11, 2012

The idea of using ice to cool is NOT to save energy--it doesn't, but to shift energy usage from peak demand times when the price per kWh is high to times during the night when the price of electricity is less.

2:08PM PDT on Apr 9, 2012

This is good news - it is never too late to start saving the planet, it is simply that the longer we leave doing something the more difficult it will be to address the issue, this is a very positive start.

1:37AM PDT on Apr 9, 2012

Save the planet,save water and amend for the future.I dnt think is too late.

11:05PM PDT on Apr 8, 2012

THanks

9:33AM PDT on Apr 8, 2012

HARTH WARMING...

6:20AM PDT on Apr 8, 2012

Thanks.

2:56AM PDT on Apr 8, 2012

Thanks for the article.

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