The heat dissipated by electronic equipment inside data centers is increasing at a rapid rate due to the increasing of performance requirement and package density. This ever increasing power leads to critical challenges of thermal management for these high power density data centers. Energy consumption is also a key issue for high density data centers. Roughly 1.5% of all U.S. electricity consumption in the year 2006 was related to data centers, while that number increased to 2% by the year 2010. In 2013, U.S. data centers consumed approximately 91 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity. This amount of the electricity equals the annual output of 34 500-megawatt coal-fired power plants [1]. Cooling systems constitute a significant portion of the energy consumption of data centers, being approximately 25%∼35% of the total energy usage. Therefore, there is a large potential to save energy by optimizing current existing cooling systems and investigating new cooling technologies, and, at the same time, improving the overall cooling capacity and efficiency. This paper describes and investigates a hybrid cooling technology which utilizes in row coolers in existing raised floor air cooled data centers. The in row cooler functions as a liquid-to-air heat exchanger. In addition to the traditional raised floor cold aisle-hot aisle arrangements, the in row cooler is installed between the IT equipment to enable delivering the liquid coolant medium closer to the IT equipment. The in row coolers intake the hot air from the hot aisle, condition it, and supply the chilled air to the cold aisle. Thus, by extracting a large portion of the heat more directly into the cooling liquid through the in row coolers compared with the perimeter CRAH unit, the overall cooling performance and efficiency can potentially be improved. CFD models for an in row cooler and a representative data center room are developed. Experimentally characterized performance data are used to calibrate and validate the models. The models are then used to conduct a detailed computational analysis to assess the effectiveness of different arrangement configurations of in row cooler units in two rows of racks along one cold aisle. The detailed performance of the entire cold aisle is characterized using the rack inlet air temperature and a temperature nonuniformity factor. The impact of CRAH location and room layout are also investigated. This study is based on a practical problem and the corresponding results and analysis provide basic installation and design guidelines for future equipment upgrading in certain parts of the data center.

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