New wet computer tested

Scientists in Leeds are testing a new 'wet computer' which uses a specially engineered liquid to cool that components, rather than traditional fans which use much more energy.


Scientists think liquid cooled computers could save energy

The scientists who are testing a new liquid cooled computer system in Leeds think it has the potential to save large amounts of energy and prevent heat being unnecessarily wasted. Large fans to cool the world's data centres could become a thing of the past. Here are some facts and figures:

  • The world's data centres use 31 gigawatts of power, more than 7 times the capacity of Drax power station.
  • Data centre carbon emissions are predicted to quadruple between 2008 and 2020.
  • The new Iceotope system uses just 80 watts of power to harvest heat from 20 kilowatts of computer use.

The liquid we are using is extraordinary stuff. You could throw your mobile phone in a tub of it and the phone's electronics would work perfectly. But the important thing for the future of computing and the internet is that it is more than 1000 times more effective at carrying heat than air. The cooling of servers is traditionally done using fans and air conditioning units, but air is a great insulator. We use it in double glazing. Why would you use it to cool a server?

– Dr Jon Summers, University of Leeds.

Scientists show off new computer cooling system

Scientists in Leeds have helped to develop the new computer server unit, cooled by specially engineered fluid, which is the first of its kind in the world. Liquid has been used to keep electronic components cool before, but this is the first time a completely enclosed system has been developed.

A Leeds University lecturer demonstrates the new liquid-based cooling system
A Leeds University lecturer demonstrates the new liquid-based cooling system Credit: ITV Calendar

Scientists in Leeds test new 'wet computer' system

A new 'wet computer' is being tested by scientists at Leeds University. The system, designed and built by Iceotope in Rotherham, uses a specially engineered fluid to keep the electronics inside the computer server cool, rather than fans which are both noisy and costly to run.

Scientists hope the new system could slash the carbon footprint of internet data centres by dramatically reducing the amount of electricity they need to use. The system's designers estimate that power consumption for cooling could be cut by between 80% and 97%.