CSIRO has developed an innovative geothermal solution for cooling the Centre’s supercomputing systems. The system is known as groundwater cooling and was funded by the Australian Government as part of the CSIRO Geothermal Project.
The process involves pumping water with an ambient temperature of around 21°C from the Mullaloo aquifer through an above-ground heat exchanger to provide the necessary cooling effect for the supercomputer, then reinjecting the water back into the aquifer. Combined with separate cold water injection bores, this process has been carefully designed to avoid negatively affecting the water in the aquifer.
CSIRO estimates that using groundwater cooling to cool the supercomputer will save approximately 14.5 million litres of water every year, compared with using conventional cooling towers. The system is designed to have the capacity to scale with additions to the supercomputing hardware.