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Will server housing compete with power plants?
Investors from around the world flew together like wasps on a melon, immediately when the fantastic news appeared, that ENECO company developed a component that can be applied to any computer chip and doing a conversion of waste heat of the chip
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Servers and waste heat
The heat generated by the processor, especially in concentrated form in the server sites and data centers is only one hazardous waste. It must be liquidated with difficulty, or rather, it must be, at the expense of other expensive electrical energy, is removed and spread into outer space. First, from the chip into the space around it, and partly from the inside of a computer via the cooling fan in the space on the server space, and finally here, another imperfect heat transfer through the air handler in the outer space outside the server room. However, this could be a waste heat source of precious electrical energy. Instead of additional electricity consumption for cooling electric energy consumption should be reduced thanks to more than half of lower production of waste heat, but also even greater amounts of all waste heat should be turned into electricity. It can be reused again for the power supply of telecommunication equipment house.
How does it work?
Heat is one of the basic forms of energy is all around us. We know somehow intuitively that a freshly brewed cup of tea contains more energy than the same one two hours later, when the tea was cold. The heat has spread in the environment. The heat at the physical level of atoms, their kinetic energy. If they do not have any energy, they freeze like our cup of tea for an additional cooling on the windowsill outside in winter or in the freezer.
While particulate matter at the atomic level can freeze and solidify, for example in water at temperatures below 0C, at the subatomic level, the electrons are always in motion at temperatures higher than the temperature of absolute zero (-273.15 C). Electrons do not just constantly moving around the nucleus of the atom, but above all, change their positions in the metals. And the motion of electrons is electricity. When electrons in the hot state with higher energy and are more willing to change their positions or possibly to skip to the surrounding atoms. These jumps arent great distance varies from one to ten nanometers.
A little history
Thermoelectric effect is known for quite some time. It was discovered accidentally in 1821 by a German physicist Thomas Seebeck, who discovered that there is an electrical voltage between the two ends of a metal rod when there is a temperature difference between the ends of the rod. Since the Seebeck effect named after him, when the two leaders from different metals together in a closed circle and when there is a temperature difference between junctions, the electrical current passing through the loop.
In 1834 Peltier then described an effect, when a direct electric current from an external source pass through a loop consisting of two dissimilar metals, especially since the difference in temperature between the two junctions. If the current flows from the external source through the intersection in the same direction, the direction in which the current in the Seebeck effect at this junction is heated, then the given junction cools off. If current flows in the opposite direction when the junction is heated. The Peltier effect depends on the type of metals and their temperature.
This is the principle of thermoelectric couples. A thermoelectric couple, simply put, generates electrical current depending on the temperature difference on both sides, or the difference in temperature depending on the electric flux. It is possible to use it for cooling and heating. We choose to heat, of course, from a number of other generally better and so that the largest number of practical use remains chilling. Yet the properties of the thermoelectric couples may be successfully used for precise measurement of temperature at a rather large temperature range (as the material used up to 1600C). And last but not least, the thermoelectric couples may be used for power generation which, when the temperature difference is available. And it is precisely the case with the surface of the chip by the CPU.
Modern means of semiconductor and nanotechnology
The main disadvantage of the thermoelectric material lies in the fact that along with the desired motion of electrons, there is also an undesirable heat transfer and the effect of reducing a temperature gradient (temperature difference) and thus reduce the potential effectiveness of the entire mechanism of the thermoelectric couple.
The main research tries to solve the problem of keeping the temperature gradient (temperature difference on both sides of the couple on the better effect). This research focuses on finding the intersection (port), which can easily transfer electrons but will have heat resistance as high as possible. And much ENECO company is working with semiconductors. The use of semiconductors may have several significant benefits to the thermoelectric couple. The first and essential strengths should be much higher efficiency than with traditional thermal-electric couple, which consists of two different metals. The technology, in the case of semiconductors, processing and application (or steaming) for arbitrarily thin layers on arbitrarily large or relatively small areas are also very well-mastered from the chip industry. ENECO argue that they can ensure efficiency by up to 50 effectiveness in converting waste heat into electrical energy.
The way forward is not only paved with roses
Despite optimistic statements about efficiency per cent and early date for the placing of commercial products on the market (1Q 2008), many of this remained only on paper. The path to breakthrough waste heat recovery of the processor isn't lined with roses. It is very expensive and the patience of the investors soon. Complications that arose during the development of a component, which may be commercially marketed, leading to delays and eventually impact on the situation, when January 18, 2008 ENECO company requested protection from creditors.
Meanwhile, popped another producer Powerchip company from Gibraltar, whose chips reaches alleged efficiency by up to 80 effectiveness in converting waste heat into electrical energy. Powerchip investments in nanotechnology. With these it should be said to allow the creation of a thermoelectric couple and between the two thermoelectric materials, there would be a layer nanomembrane allows easy transfer of electrons, but to keep unwanted heat transfer.
If this technology will be a future date succeeded as to the acceptable level of efficiency relative to production, it isn't clear. Physics do not exclude this. Or will the cheap, safe and inexhaustible energy from nuclear mergers in the past?
Apparently not. The energy will probably never be cheap because the energy business have many strong players, who are ready to monopolize new areas of production and distribution, if it appears. And so the outlook for waste heat recovery with the side effect of CPU cooling still very attractive.
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