Liquid cooling – The future of data center cooling

As performance needs – and heat – increases, liquid cooling is delivering efficiency and sustainability to data centers around the world.

Growing demand equals growing power consumption and heat
US data center demand is expected to grow 10% a year until 2030. With demand being measured by power consumption to reflect the number of servers in a data centre.1 While this is a US-based prediction, we can already see countless new data center construction projects on the horizon in the EU, APAC and LATAM markets. This data center need is being driven by our ever-increasing digital footprint, and fast-growing tools like AI, big data and high-performance computing.

With this exponentially increasing amount of power density, data center builders are looking to new types of cooling that can manage not only the increased amount of cooling needed, but also to meet new regulations for data center heat recovery and reuse.

Modern data centers can use as much power as 80,000 households. There’s growing pressure to make data centers sustainable, and regulators and governments in Singapore and the Netherlands are already beginning to impose sustainability standards on newly built data centers. This trend towards more sustainable data centers is likely to grow in the coming years due to public sentiment and the focus of lawmakers.

Liquid cooling – An efficient alternative
Liquid cooling was first developed by IBM in the 1960s. And while popularized by some niche consumer segments, it hasn’t been necessary for data centers to choose liquid cooling because air-cooled systems have, up until now, been more than sufficient. As the demand for more compute- and data-intense tasks like AI burst into the mainstream, air-cooled systems will reach their limits. This is where large-scale liquid-cooled systems come into play.


Water has more than four times the cooling capacity when compared to air, outperforms air at heat transfer conductivity by 25 times, and removing excess heat with water requires 50 times less energy than with air.

At the heart of the liquid-cooled system is the brazed plate heat exchanger, also known as BPHE. This compact device can be used in multiple cooling circuits within the data center, including in the coolant distribution unit (CDU), in the chiller and as a loop breaker between the cooling tower and the chiller or the CDU. When used as a loop breaker, the BPHE creates two closed circuits that reduce the risk of contaminants from external water supplies. The CDU can be used together with several different cooling systems for example Cold Plate or Immersion System, depending on your cooling needs.


Unwanted heat from the data center can easily be recovered and reused in a liquid cooled system by using a brazed plate heat exchanger. Temperatures around 30°C can easily be recovered but a heat pump can further raise the temperature, up to 90°C, for use in district heating systems. This is especially important in areas with increasing regulations for sustainability standards.


As data center power density needs are growing, air-cooled systems are reaching their limits. Liquid cooled systems with SWEP brazed plate heat exchangers are the next step in efficient and sustainable data center cooling.

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To learn more about our brazed plate heat exchangers and how liquid cooling can give your data center project a competitive edge, visit Liquid is the future of cool - Data Center Cooling

If you’d like to talk to one of our experts about SWEP brazed plate heat exchangers, you can also send us a message at SWEP Contacts