Singapore’s STDCT Aims to Revolutionize Tropical Data Centers

Researchers in Singapore establish the Sustainable Tropical Data Centre Testbed (STDCT) to develop cooling technologies for data centers in tropical climates, addressing challenges of heat and humidity.

Data centers in tropical climates face problems more temperate regions may not need to tackle—including corrosion from higher condensation rates. STDCT AT NUS (Image: IEEE Spectrum)
Data centers in tropical climates face problems more temperate regions may not need to tackle—including corrosion from higher condensation rates. STDCT AT NUS (Image: IEEE Spectrum)

Singapore Tackles Tropical Data Center Challenges with Sustainable Cooling Technologies

Singapore, February 10, 2024 – Imagine rows upon rows of powerful computers humming away, generating heat like miniature suns. This is the reality of data centers, the backbone of our digital world, and in tropical climates like Singapore, keeping these hotheads cool presents a unique challenge.

Conventional cooling systems struggle in these conditions, leading to higher energy consumption and carbon emissions. To address this, researchers and industry partners have joined forces to create the world’s first data center testbed specifically designed for tropical climates – the Sustainable Tropical Data Centre Testbed (STDCT).

Imagine rows of servers humming away, generating heat like mini furnaces. In Singapore’s sweltering temperatures, this heat becomes a major problem. Traditional air conditioning systems, while effective in cooler climates, simply can’t keep up. This is where STDCT comes in.

Located at the National University of Singapore, STDCT is a 770-square-meter facility testing innovative cooling technologies tailored for tropical environments. It’s a collaborative effort between NUS, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTUS), government agencies, and 20 IT companies.

Why is this important?

  • Energy savings: Cooling accounts for 40% of a data center’s energy consumption. STDCT aims to reduce this by 40%, leading to lower operational costs and reduced carbon footprint.
  • Water savings: Water is used in traditional cooling systems. STDCT aims to cut water usage by 30-40%, preserving this precious resource.
  • Climate-friendly solutions: By developing and testing new technologies, STDCT paves the way for sustainable data center operations in tropical regions around the world.

What are they testing?

STDCT is exploring a range of promising technologies, including:

  • StatePoint Liquid Cooling (SPLC): This system uses a special membrane to efficiently exchange heat between water and air, creating cool water for server cooling.
  • Desiccant-coated heat exchangers: These capture moisture from the air, reducing humidity and providing cooling. The captured moisture is then removed using waste heat from the data center, creating a self-sustaining cycle.
  • Direct-to-chip hybrid cooling: This combines liquid and air cooling directly at the chip level, offering precise temperature control for high-performance servers.

STDCT isn’t just about testing hardware. It’s also about developing expertise in operating data centers in tropical climates. NTUS is contributing its knowledge of AI and digital twins to optimize operations and reduce risks associated with new technologies.

STDCT aims to achieve:

  • 40% reduction in energy consumption
  • 30-40% reduction in water usage
  • 40% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions
  • A Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) of less than 1.2, exceeding Singapore’s government requirement and the global average.

The success of STDCT could have far-reaching implications. Singapore hopes to become a leading center for green data center services in the region, attracting investments and creating jobs. Additionally, the developed technologies could be adopted by data centers worldwide, contributing to a more sustainable future for the digital age.

STDCT is still in its early stages, but it holds immense potential for revolutionizing data center operations in tropical climates. With continued collaboration and innovation, this testbed could pave the way for a greener and more sustainable digital future.

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Source: IEEE Spectrum

The information above is curated from reliable sources and modified for clarity. Slash Insider is not responsible for its completeness or accuracy. We strive to deliver reliable articles but encourage readers to verify details independently.