JAPAN: Two leading Japanese corporations claim to have developed a data centre cooling system, using a new HFO refrigerant, that could cut power consumption in half.

NEC, the multinational information technology and electronics company, and NTT Communications, Japan’s largest telecommunications company, have developed the cooling system using the low pressure refrigerant R1224yd.

This is claimed to be the first time that a low pressure refrigerant has been used for air cooling.

Actually an HCFO, R1224yd was developed by Japanese manufacturer AGC Asahi Glass as an A1 non-flammable refrigerant. It was designed mainly for use in centrifugal chillers, binary cycle generators and waste heat recovery heat pumps.

Said to be easily retrofitted, joint experiments of the system at an NTT data centre are said to have demonstrated that the air conditioning power consumption can be reduced to half compared to conventional water-cooling systems.

The system is expected to be commercialised in 2022, and NTT will first consider introducing it into its own facilities. In the future, it is expected that the technology will be available to customers with a requirement for large-scale cooling equipment such as hospitals and commercial facilities, as well as communication equipment.

There are also said to be plans to utilise the exhaust heat for secondary uses.