5 Reasons Why Nuclear-Powered Data Centers and Liquid Cooling Go Hand in Hand

In the news recently, major data center providers and operators such as Amazon, Microsoft, and Equinix have announced investments and/or agreements in nuclear energy, a stable and low-carbon power source. This choice allows them to meet escalating artificial intelligence (AI) and high performance computing (HPC) power demands, while maintaining their sustainability goals. 

Managing the intense heat produced in data centers that focus on supporting AI and HPC workloads, in which cooling accounts for 40% of annual operational expenses, makes liquid cooling a natural fit. With its superior efficiency and environmental benefits over air cooling, we are seeing more data centers adopt liquid cooling.

Here are five reasons why data center providers and operations should consider liquid cooling in their nuclear-powered data centers.

1. Efficient Heat Management

Nuclear-powered data centers designed for AI and HPC workloads must grapple with significant heat from high power densities. Traditional air-cooling systems often fall short in such environments. Liquid cooling, either through direct-to-chip or immersion, significantly improves high heat flux management. While air cooling can typically handle up to 20 kW per rack, liquid cooling systems can support over 100 kW per rack. This is due to the higher heat capacity and thermal conductivity of liquids compared to air, enabling faster and more efficient heat transfer.

2. Energy and Cost Efficiency

Liquid cooling uses far less energy to manage cooling fluids compared to the energy required to power fans in air cooling. Given this, the Coefficient of Performance (COP) ratings, defined as the ratio of cooling provided to the energy consumed by the system, are much higher for liquid cooling than air. This efficiency not only increases operational cost-saving but also aligns with sustainability goals, reducing the overall environmental impact of data centers. 

3. Space Optimization

Space is a premium in data centers. Liquid cooling systems, particularly immersion types, require less space than traditional cooling setups, allowing for a denser configuration of servers and hardware. This compact setup maximizes space, enabling more computing power in a smaller footprint.

4. Enhanced Reliability and Longevity

Maintaining optimal temperature levels is crucial for hardware performance and longevity. Liquid cooling provides precise temperature control directly at the component level, helping prevent overheating and reducing the risk of hardware failure. This ensures high reliability and continuous system availability, minimizing downtime and maintenance costs.

5. Heat Reuse Opportunities

Liquid cooling not only manages waste heat more efficiently but, with the addition of a heat pump, captures heat at levels suitable for reuse. This makes it possible to use waste heat for district heating or other industrial processes, turning a waste byproduct into a valuable resource. This capability enhances the overall energy efficiency and sustainability of the data center.

In addition to the above, liquid cooling is known to provide these two other benefits.

  • Scalable and Flexible Solutions
    As data centers grow, the need for a cooling solution that can scale effectively is crucial. Liquid cooling systems can be designed modularly, making it easier to scale up or adapt with minimal disruption to existing operations. 
  • Compliance and Environmental Responsibility
    In an era where environmental considerations are paramount, liquid cooling helps data centers meet stringent environmental regulations. By reducing energy consumption and optimizing heat management, liquid cooling supports compliance with green standards and initiatives.

Next Steps 

For nuclear-powered data centers, liquid cooling is not just a technology choice; it is a strategic imperative. It brings enhanced efficiency, reliability, and scalability, all while supporting environmental goals. By choosing a provider that delivers a full spectrum of liquid cooling solutions, you ensure that your data center can meet both current and future cooling needs efficiently and sustainably. 

LiquidStack can cater to all aspects of your cooling equipment needs. From initial system design to installation, maintenance, and scaling, LiquidStack offers your company access to the latest technology and solutions that fit your requirements, backed by expert support throughout the equipments’ lifecycle.

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