Innovative Algae-based Heatsink System for Data Center Integration
Carbon Dioxide Sequestration
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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EmbargoRelease after 07/15/2021
AbstractRising carbon dioxide levels leading to global warming, along with the increasing demand for resources as the world population grows, cause an urgent need to expand renewable energy resources and promote their availability and affordability. The building industry, accountable for one third of global energy usage and forty percent of direct and indirect CO₂ emissions (Buildings A source of enormous untapped efficiency potential, 2020), should move past reliance on fossil fuel driven power plants, and become energy pods capable of self-reliance in clean energy generation through solar power and biofuels producing local energy for occupants needs. us Although developers and industry professionals have started incentivizing photovoltaics in large quantities and wind and water turbines occasionally, they have taken ephemeral steps to embrace biofuels, the source of renewable fuel capable of replacing fossil fuels. This thesis investigates the integration of photovoltaic bioreactors in hyperscale data centers as a testbed for large-scale biomass production units. The increasing dependence of society on information technology (IT) is becoming even more apparent amidst the global COVID-19 pandemic. As schools and businesses shift to online modalities, and regular communication between humans has shifted to internet-based contact, data centers grow rapidly. As a result, energy demands exponentially increase as servers run continuously and produce endless amounts of waste heat. According to the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), these facilities "are one of the most energy-intensive building types, consuming 10 to 50 times the energy per floor space of a typical commercial office building. Collectively, these spaces account for approximately 2% of the total U.S." (Strutt) Because of the extreme heat-generation from densely packed IT equipment, the data center provides a unique testbed for bio-based heat recovery and heat sink systems. Through this research two algae species - Chlorella Vulgaris (C. vulgaris) and Scenedesmus sp. (Scenedesmus) - , are used to examine the possibility of using water-based algae to utilize the excessive heat, cool the servers, reduce the buildings energy consumption and additionally their dependency on conventional cooling systems, and use the high heat capacity of water to store the heat produced by the systems during the day. Coupling the system with stack ventilation and night flush cooling tends to can reduce the buildings' mechanical cooling needs even further. A physical testbed for the algae species demonstrates information extracted from visual observation, growth rate measures, and temperature, light, and humidity sensing. Carbon dioxide sequestration potential is calculated based on rule-of-thumb literature review data. The accumulative data that was collected allows for a better understanding of algae behavior in uncontrolled temperatures and environments to inform innovative solutions to decrease data centers' energy consumption, carbon footprint, and utility bills.
Degree ProgramGraduate College