[Beowulf] small cluster cooling / beer fridges

Robert G. Brown rgb at phy.duke.edu
Thu Sep 25 14:04:33 PDT 2008

On Thu, 25 Sep 2008, Ellis Wilson wrote:

> Very neat link.
> This is just a thought, but with the advent (or recent popularity) of
> "green buildings", could one use the same technique to keep large stores
> of computers cool?  That is, could one run a series of pipes deep
> (100-500ft) into the ground, maybe fill them with antifreeze or
> something more fun that won't freeze and circulate it to cool a room?
> It seems to me that if this would work all costs would be quickly
> amortized and would save money versus A/C in the long run.
> I guess this question is directed at physicists on the list since I
> don't fully appreciate/understand all the nuances of heat transfer.

This is called (in various incarnations) "geothermal cooling" and
actually exists.  The pipes don't have to be that deep, and water works
fine.  However, it takes a LOT of foresight to build this in when one
first builds e.g. a house or business, and it isn't cheap.  It takes
years to recover your amortized investment.

For a house or medium use building it is doable -- the building at the
Duke Marine Lab is "gold" on some ecofriendly scale or another and has
geothermal AC, a roof covered with solar cells, flushless urinals, and
sinks in the bathrooms that "spritz" your hand with water when you
wiggle them, no more.  A showcase, of course (The Repass Ocean
Conservancy Center).  But not cheap.


> Ellis
> Greg Matthews wrote:
>> Robert G. Brown wrote:
>>> On Thu, 18 Sep 2008, Mark Kosmowski wrote:
>>>>> Questions (same RGB asked):
>>>>> What environmental conditions should such an office have?
>>>>> 1.5ton A/C?
>>>>> 4kW  capable wiring?
>>>>> Beer keg refrigerator?
>>>>> How many air vent and drip holes on the walls, ceiling and windows?
>> I'm really amazed no-one has mentioned project e.u.n.u.c.h.
>> http://totl.net/Eunuch/index.html
>> which was briefly famous a few years ago.
>>> No, just use the smaller fridge as a beer cooler, as God and nature
>>> intended.
>>>     rgb

Robert G. Brown                            Phone(cell): 1-919-280-8443
Duke University Physics Dept, Box 90305
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