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An Italian start-up has developed a two-phase advanced thermal management system for high power electronics. The innovative feature of this system is the use of flow boiling heat transfer for cooling electronics. Compared to traditional cooling systems (liquid cooling, heat pipes), significantly higher heat transfer coefficients can be achieved at lower flow rates and pumping power. Joint venture, service, commercial agreement with technical assistance and technical collaborations are sought.
The proposed thermal control system is based on a two-phase pumped loop. There will be a loop that dissipates thermal energy from one or more electronic devices. In the loop, a pump is used to circulate a working fluid. Downstream of the pump, the fluid flows to an evaporator, the cold plate where liquid is evaporated and heat from the electronic component (Central Power Unit, Ground Powere Units, or insulated gate bipolar transistor, typically) is being absorbed. For example, for an electronic component like a CPU (Intel i9) it is possible to remove up to 500 - 600 W with a mass flow rate of 20 kg/h. The vapor then flows to a condenser where it is condensed back into liquid phase and heat is released from the fluid to the ambient or to the heat sink. The loop contains an expansion tank/accumulator to allow for density changes of the fluid due to the evaporation and condensation. This component will control the system pressure and therefore the saturation temperature of the fluid. This temperature will be set at a certain value, in order to maintain the electronic components at their operative temperatures. For a CPU or a GPU, for example, temperature will must be lower than 90°C. In the case of thermal control of a server with several CPUs and GPUs, it is possible to use a single pump to flow the fluid in the heat exchangers (evaporators) in contact with the electronic devices in parallel configuration.
This thermal control system will be able to remove high power densities with low mass flow rate and maintaining the surface of the electronic component isothermal. The system has lower volume and mass compared to classical cooling methods and requires less electrical energy.
In case electronic devices subjected to inertial forces, as in an electric vehicle, or in an aircraft, the two-phase cooling system could be affected by the presence of accelerations. Therefore, the design of the cooling system must take into the account for this particular environment. The expertise in multi-gravity environment of parabolic flights, of the Italian start-up founders was therefore fundamental for the development of the proposed two-phase cooling system. The team that proposes this technology has fourteen years' experience in studying and developing two-phase flow systems at low- and hyper-gravity conditions on-board the ZERO-G aircraft of Novespace and ESA (European Space Agency) parabolic flight campaigns.
Other potential application of the proposed technology are:
- cooling of power electronics for other sectors: telecommunications, avionics, satellites;
- cooling of high performance computers and servers;
- cooling of electric vehicles;
cooling of servers in a data-centres.
Joint venture, service, commercial agreement with technical assistance and technical collaborations are sought
The company is looking for the following cooperation types:
• Joint Venture agreement: creating new company licensing for the use of the tecnology, in order to facilitate th emarket penetration;
• service agreement: the company can support the customers in order to provide customized solutions for specific needs.
• commercial agreement with technical assistance: the company can sell to the partner an instance of the platform (or part of it), supporting the start up, so that the partner will be able to be autonomous;
Two-phase pumped flow is a new technology for the sector of electronic cooling. This technology has been developed for nuclear power sector and recently has been miniaturised for matching the small dimensions of electronic components (CPU of computers, for example). Compared to classical cooling systems like heat pipes and liquid cooling (single phase forced convection), the new technology is able to remove higher heat fluxes, at lower pumping energy, lower mass of the entire loop, and to maintain the target surface of the electronic component isothermal.
Available cooling technologies like heat pipes and liquid cooling are able to remove up to 50 W/cm2 – 150 W/cm2, while two-phase cooling is able to reach up to 1000 W/cm2. In particular, these performances are obtained with low mass flow rates, ten times lower than the flow rates of liquid cooling systems. Lower mass flow rate results in lower electrical energy spent for pumping the fluid in the cooling system with interesting economic and technical advantages for applications like cooling of datacentres or cooling of electric vehicles. Another important advantage offered by the new technology is the possibility to maintain the cooled surface isothermal. This characteristic is very important for several electronic applications.
Two-phase flow, thanks to the latent heat of vaporization, is characterised by higher heat transfer coefficients compared to liquid cooling (heat transfer depends on sensible heat). Due to this characteristic, the heat exchangers (evaporator and condenser) are smaller, and therefore lighter, than those developed for the liquid cooling with evident advantages in terms of mass reduction.
Demonstrators and prototypes available.
The start-up has realized three prototypes (perfectly working) and is collaborating with two computer companies to develop the cooling system for their products.
The start-up has just started the patent application
Private company and industries are sought in the
following sectors: pc-manufacturers, server, power electronics, battery for electric vehicles, electric vehicles, avionics
Task to be performed: purchase, commercial partnership