Cool success for technology firm after awards win

Exciting times: Peter Hopton, chief technical officer of Iceotope and founder of Very PC.
Exciting times: Peter Hopton, chief technical officer of Iceotope and founder of Very PC.
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YET more accolades have been heaped upon a Sheffield company that has developed technology to slash the costs of cooling massive data centres.

Iceotope, the sister company of eco-friendly PC manufacturer Very PC, has been named New Company of the Year at the premier awards for the European electronics industry and won the Tech Trailblazers Award for Sustainable IT

The new awards, presented during the last week, follow on from the company’s success earlier in the year, when it won the Startup Product of the Year Award at the Techworld Awards and was named one of 50 young UK companies triggering change in their markets by Real Business, the magazine for entrepreneurs and growing mid-sized and smaller businesses.

Icetope’s Peter Hopton says the spread of accolades is particularly gratifying.

“It’s nice to get awards that are business focused and from both the IT and electronics sectors,” said Mr Hopton.

Iceotope’s technology is aimed at Data Centres, which are the workhorses of the Internet, packed full of computer servers generating massive amounts of heat and are usually cooled by fans and extractors to move hot air outside, where it goes to waste.

Iceotope’s technology is designed to provide 24 hour free cooling for data centres even in the hottest parts of the world and cuts their carbon footprint by recycling the heat the servers generate.

It keeps servers cool by sealing their motherboards inside a cartridge filled with a liquid called Novec, developed by 3M.

Novec won’t conduct electricity, so the electronics won’t short out, despite being immersed in a liquid. However, Novec rapidly takes heat away through natural convection.

One side of the metal cartridge has sealed channels which are filled with water to cool the Novec and take the heat away so that it can be used as a source of energy to heat or cool the data centre building or be recycled for other purposes.

The cartridges are “hot swappable,” which means servers can be replaced while the data centre keeps running.

Having proved the concept and won a series of accolades, Iceotope is pressing ahead with a number of pilot projects and already has equipment being trailed in the ‘real world.’

“It’s very exciting for us,” says Peter Hopton, who believes winning New Company of the Year at the Elektra Electronics Industry Awards, the premier awards for the European electronics industry, run by Electronics Weekly, could open the way for Iceotope’s technology to be used in the wider electronics industrry and not just IT.