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Data Center Heat Exchanger with Increased Cooling Efficiency Reduces Energy Usage

Between 2005 and 2010 electricity consumption in the information and communication technology (ICT) sector rose by 36% in the United States. The energy consumed by a data center is shared among three primary components: communications and computing equipment (50%), power supply chain (25%), and equipment cooling (25%). Data centers must be environmentally controlled, and the ability to reduce cooling costs and increase real estate utilization is an attractive feature for ICT facilities. ICT facilities are typically cooled by computer room air-conditioning (CRAC) units, which provide cold air that is drawn into the equipment racks by fans. This method of cooling is energy inefficient, creates localized hot spots, and causes the cooling system to overcompensate. The high heat density of the equipment often necessitates running server fans at high speeds, which further increases energy use, acoustic noise, and fan failure rates.

With assistance from AMO (as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act), Alcatel-Lucent (ALU) created an energy-efficient pumped refrigerant cooling technology for equipment racks in a telecom central office or data center. The system reduces cooling energy usage by up to 90% and can cool up to about 10 times greater heat densities than what is typically observed in existing technology today. The system uses refrigerant-cooled heat exchangers mounted to the back of the equipment racks. The air that is driven through the equipment rack to carry off excess heat passes through the heat exchanger, which cools it back down to the ambient temperature. A fluid handling system pumps the refrigerant through the heat exchangers to provide the cooling. Heat is removed from the refrigerant in the pumping unit by heat exchange with building chilled water or some other centralized cooling system. The increased cooling efficiency and capacity of ALU's technology allows data center designers to use higher equipment densities, reduce floor space requirements, and lay out the equipment as best dictated by function, without being concerned about localized overheating that occurs when using increased equipment densities. ALU's current development efforts are focused on improving cooling efficiency through improved heat transfer and transport mechanisms, optimized manufacturing, and rapid market acceptance by reducing cost, thoroughly understanding system-level performance, and developing viable commercialization strategies. ALU has installed multiple cooling systems in telecom and cable service provider applications across the United States.

Energy Savings (Trillion Btu) 0.068
Emissions Reductions
(Thousand Tons)
Carbon 1.333
NOx 0.011
SOx 0.015
Particulates 0.000

Alcatel’s Advanced Refrigerant-Based Cooling System


  • Developed and commercialized in 2010 by Alcatel-Lucent in collaboration with Modine Manufacturing Company and U.S. Hose Corporation.
  • Licensed shelf-level modular cooling solution to Emerald Technologies.


Can be used for reducing operating cost and increasing cooling efficiency in data center facilities.


  • Reduces energy consumption by up to 90% compared with current cooling technology.
  • Provides simple and expandable installation with minimum downtime.
  • Allows increased equipment densities, improving space utilization.


Cost Savings

Reduces data center operating costs by decreasing energy usage and improving space utilization and equipment reliability.


Allows as much as 10 times greater equipment densities compared with current technology by improving cooling efficiency.


Reduces data center operating temperatures and noise levels.

Contact Information

Todd Salamon
(908) 582-8766