Design and construction of an Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) for Data Center applications

The increasing energy utilization in electronics devices such as rack servers in data centers has led to increasing costs associated with the current cooling systems.  It has been a significant challenge for thermal management researchers. Potential techniques such as capturing and reusing of waste energy systems from servers, among others, are of considerable interest and development. The Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) has been identified as a potential alternative use of waste heat due to its performance and physical size, which matches well with data center requirements. The current investigation aims to design and build an ORC test bed for data center applications. 

 

Concept of Organic Rankine Cycle in Data Centers as waste heat recovery system
Concept of Organic Rankine Cycle in Data Centers as waste heat recovery system

 

The ORC test bed is designed for 20kW of waste heat from 2 full racks. In order to build this, it has included two secondary cycles: the heat source cycle and the cooling system cycle. Both were also designed to generate energy as waste heat to the ORC and dissipate the remaining energy from ORC, respectively. Component selection has been carefully studied in each of the three cycles. 

P&ID ORC Experimental rig and secondary cycles (Hot water and cold water)
P&ID ORC Experimental rig and secondary cycles (Hot water and cold water)

 

The main goals in this investigation are to do a steady-state characterization of ORC under different situations and further economic study development for potential customers who are seeking alternatives of waste heat recovery with ORC in data centers. Experimental improvements will be considered as subsequent works such as ORC coupled to a Two-phase micro-channel cold plate system that will allow appreciable increases of recovery of energy.

Director

Dr. Amy Fleischer

Dr. Amy Fleischer
Professor and Chair of Mechanical Engineering
Director of the NovaTherm Laboratory

Contact Us
Phone: (610) 519-4996
Email: amy.fleischer@villanova.edu