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Groundwater Cooling System for Supercomputers Ecofriendly and Efficient


Pawsey_SupercomputerAustralia’s largest supercomputer may get a renewable system for cooling in the near future thanks to a geothermal energy project in Perth.

The Pawsey Centre supercomputer, an $80 million facility, needs an advanced solution for cooling. CSIRO Geothermal Project has determined that a groundwater cooling system will work best. The system works by pumping cool water from 100 meters below the earth’s surface through an above-ground heat exchanger. This, then, acts to cool the supercomputer.

The cooling system has been developed to be eco-friendly and have no negative effects on the environment since there is a zero net use of groundwater. CSIRO estimates this technique will save more than 38.5 million liters of water annually – far more efficient than standard cooling towers.

If deployed more widely, the technology also has the potential to replace cooling towers in buildings all over Perth.

The site of the Pawsey Center supercomputer is currently awash in construction as drilling to implement the groundwater cooling system has begun. Experts are excited because any discoveries in cooling the petascale computing system will build a knowledge base for the biggest radio telescope (Square Kilometer Array) in the world. Other high end cutting edge science endeavors will no doubt benefit as well.

Because supercomputers generate a huge amount of heat, finding an efficient way to cool them is a high priority.

The CSIRO Geothermal Project plans to research deeper geothermal energy resources later this year.

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