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

Image via Thinkstock

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Antonia Windham
Antonia Windham3 years ago

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.

Antonia Windham
Antonia Windham3 years ago

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.

Kerrie G.
Kerrie G.3 years ago

Interesting article, thanks. ;)

Grace Adams
Grace Adams3 years ago

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.

Howard C.
.3 years ago

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.

Anthony Eshun
Anthony Eshun3 years ago

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

Julianna D.
Juliana D.3 years ago


Joy Dantine
Joy Dantine3 years ago


Quanta Kiran
Quanta Kiran3 years ago


KS Goh
KS Goh3 years ago

Thanks for the article.