Data centre uses river water for cooling

The American company Nautilus commissioned its first data centre naturally cooled by water from a river in April. 

Nautilus has developed a  technology using water to cool data centres. This technology, patented in 2017, is called “Waterborne Data Center Facility” 


Data centres consume a lot of energy and produce waste heat that must be removed to maintain the proper operating temperature. Traditionally, cooling systems consume a large amount of energy: in 2020, data centres were estimated to account for 1% of global electricity consumption (1)

Reducing this consumption is a major challenge in the fight against global warming. Evaporative cooling is frequently used in data centres. However, according to an estimate provided in the Nautilus press release, this technique uses 30 million litres of water for each MegaWatt used. This would equate to 11 billion litres of water for the arid  Silicon Valley alone.  


The patent filed by Nautilus (2) relates to a closed-loop water cooling system, which reduces not only energy consumption but also water consumption. The patent also specifies that these on-board data centres are transportable, which may be of interest during natural disasters, for example.  


Last April, the Nautilus company inaugurated its first on-board data centre in Stockton, California. It operates without refrigerant and using little water, and was built on a 930 m2 barge. It supports 7MW of critical IT load in four vaults. 


To learn more about this data centre, you can read the Nautilus press release.



(1)  (in French)