Keeping IT cool to win a top award

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Technology developed by a Sheffield firm to slash the costs of cooling massive data centres has been named Startup Product of the Year at this year’s Techworld Awards.

The technology, developed by eco-friendly PC manufacturer Very PC’s sister company, Iceotope, can provide free cooling around the clock, even in the hottest parts of the world.

Techworld’s Startup Product of the Year award is given to ‘the best and the brightest innovators’ and is intended to highlight products and services which will most impact the IT industry in the future.

Iceotope’s chief technology officer and Very PC founder Peter Hopton said: “We are thrilled with this win for our cooling solution – years of research and development have been involved.

“We have had fantastic support from organisations like 3M and the University of Leeds throughout. It’s great to see this hard work being rewarded and knowing that truly innovative and disrupting technology still gets the recognition it deserves.”

Data centres are the workhorses of the internet and are packed full of computer servers, which generate massive amounts of heat and are usually cooled by extractor fans that move hot air outside, where it goes to waste.

Iceland has even been seriously considered as a potential location for data centres because of the natural cooling offered by its icy climate.

Iceotope’s system encases servers in heat pipes – hollow copper tubes filled with a non-conducting liquid developed by 3M, called Novec, which can remove heat 20 times faster than water.

Once the heat has been conducted away from the computers it is transferred to water and the energy recovered and recycled to heat or cool buildings and for other purposes.

Iceotope says its system can keep servers at an optimum temperature even if the water in the heat transfer system reaches 50°C.