LONDON — The global data center liquid cooling market is forecast to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of almost 16 percent from 2016 to 2020, according to the latest market study released by Technavio.

“Data center operators are building data center facilities that can deliver high efficiency and reduce power consumption. Cooling solutions have become an integral part of data centers. Liquid-based cooling that uses water as a medium to cool the data center along with liquid-immersion cooling solutions has proven to be efficient in terms of growing rack power density and energy consumption as compared to air-based cooling,” said Abhishek Sharma, a lead analyst at Technavio for data center research.

The report categorizes the global data center liquid cooling market into the following five major product segments: air conditioners, economizers, cooling towers, chillers, and others. The top three are discussed below.


The global data center liquid cooling market by air conditioners is expected to reach $1.6 billion by 2020, growing at a CAGR of more than 12 percent. Commonly adopted air conditioning systems in data centers are chilled water systems. This water can be provided by chilled water plants installed in the data center building. In most cases, for liquid-based cooling, the cold air is circulated inside the building through computer room air handling (CRAH), where the water is supplied through the chiller unit. For row and rack-based cooling, chilled water-based closed control computer room air conditioning (CRAC) units, namely precision air conditioners, are generally adopted to reduce the heat dispersed by the server at the source.

In terms of water-based cooling, the adoption of chilled water-based precision air conditioners (CRAC units) will continue to drive the market during the forecast period. These chilled water precision air conditioners are capable of working efficiently irrespective of the rack power density. In addition, the market for air conditioning using liquid-based cooling techniques will also grow because of the increased use of CRAH units in data centers in conjunction with chiller units.


The global data center liquid cooling market by economizers is likely to reach $1.4 billion by 2020, growing at a CAGR of close to 21 percent. Economizers use external climatic conditions to supply chilled water to cool the data center environment. They reduce the energy consumption of a cooling cycle. Water economizers use the heat exchange process to lower the heat from chilled-water loops using external air. They reduce or eliminate the need for the chiller refrigeration cycle by cooling water using a water loop, enabling energy efficient cooling of air.

The Green Grid is a nonprofit association that focuses on improving the efficiency of data centers. According to a survey conducted by this organization, economizers find more usage in large data centers. Water-cooled chillers figure among the most widely-adopted economizers for data centers. Notably, economizers offer more reliability compared to other alternatives and help reduce the OPEX for data centers considerably.

The adoption rate of economizers is expected to be higher as compared to other units among countries having favorable climatic conditions (in terms of air quality and humidity level) that enable free cooling through economizers. The growth rate is expected to stabilize after 2017, as the construction of new data center facilities will see a continual decline during the forecast period.


The global data center liquid cooling market by cooling towers is anticipated to reach $1.3 billion by 2020, growing at a CAGR of more than 11 percent. Data center operators worldwide combine cooling towers with chillers or condenser units to lower the heat dissipated by data center equipment. Water-cooled chillers are considered more energy-efficient than air-cooled chillers because heat levels in the former are rejected near wet-bulb temperatures.

Cooling towers are used with HVAC systems that use multiple water source heat pumps sharing a common piping water loop. They are classified based on the direction of airflow (cross-flow or counter-flow). They are also classified based on the type of draft (mechanical or natural draft).

“Cooling towers are essential operating units of data centers as they maintain optimal temperatures in most operating conditions. The hot air produced inside data centers can be easily expelled to the external environment with the help of these towers,” said Sharma.

More information is available here.

Publication date: 11/9/2016

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