Cooling Data Centres Sustainably With AI

How a public-private partnership drives innovation

Having worked with the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) to develop a proprietary cooling system that helps data centre operators save an average of 50% on energy costs, Singapore-based startup KoolLogix is looking to do even better. It plans to leverage artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning technologies to make its cooling systems smarter, helping its clients use even less energy and be more sustainable in the long term.

The Challenge:

Technologies are evolving so rapidly, and so we need to move very quickly to identify the best talents who know AI.

Mr CK Cheong, CEO and co-founder of KoolLogix

Thus, KoolLogix will be partnering A*STAR to grow its AI capabilities and take the company to its next level of growth, he adds.

The infusion of scientific expertise from A*STAR will be instrumental in helping the company build its competencies in AI.

KoolLogix wants to help its clients maintain optimal cooling conditions at their data centres by intelligent algorithms to dynamically adjust cooling setpoints, airflow rates and other key controls. The plan includes development of an Internet of Things (IoT) platform to remotely monitor heat removal systems and capabilities for fault prediction.

Its growth strategy is centred around intelligent algorithms for its cooling solutions. This involves leveraging historical data, real-time sensor readings and system models to forecast future conditions and optimise cooling strategies for its data centre customers.

Having seen its revenue in 2022 balloon three-fold from a year ago, Cheong is looking to yet another collaboration with A*STAR through the Technology for Enterprise Capability Upgrading Programme (T-Up) programme, to help the company develop highly targeted cooling solutions that help its clients meet environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) goals.

The Challenge Of Filling Knowledge Gaps

In fact, KoolLogix has had a long-standing collaboration with A*STAR since 2013, where their parent company ERS participated in A*STAR's Operational Technology Roadmap (OTR) to grow its business. Then, under their first T-Up project, scientists from A*STAR's Institute of High Performance Computing (IHPC) were seconded to find ways to improve and design their own proprietary data centre cooling system.

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The scientists used their expertise in computational fluid dynamics (CFD), and together with ERS designed an award-winning cooling system that uses discharged waste heat from servers to power a refrigerant-based circuit to absorb and send away heat from the servers before reintroducing cool air back to the room.

This process differs from conventional systems that typically overcompensates cooling through the use of powerful air conditioners. With this new product, KoolLogix was spun off into a separate company in 2018.

A year later, it joined hands with A*STAR on a second T-Up project in 2019 to further improve their product design. A third T-Up project was undertaken in 2022 to embark on their project to utilize AI and MPC for automated thermal control.

The A*STAR Innovation Offerings That Koollogix Has Used

Huge Growth Potential For A Home-grown Sme With Global Impact

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astar-koollogix - collaboration goals

astar-koollogix - cooling rack energy consumption

With the explosion of cloud computing, online gaming, shopping and the use of digital devices, demand for data centres has seen exponential growth in recent years.

This has in turn fuelled demand for cooling technologies that are efficient and sustainable.

Globally, data centres account for around 1.3% of electricity consumption, according to the International Energy Agency.

Enter KoolLogix, and thanks to its collaboration with A*STAR, it is able to offer their award winning solution that helps data centres use less energy for cooling.

The global data centre cooling market reached a market size of US$13.3 billion in 2022, and is expected to more than double to US$30.3 billion by 2028, according to findings by International Market Analysis Research and Consulting Group *. This presents great growth opportunities for KoolLogix.

"In just five years, we've developed good muscles to compete successfully in the high-performance computing segment," says CTO and co-founder Dr Seri Lee.

Innovation is the essence of technology. It's not about what's possible today; it's about what's possible tomorrow. With the invaluable support of A*STAR, we are jointly shaping the future.

Dr Seri Lee, CTO and co-founder of KoolLogix

"I would say that's really positive for a start-up that began operations in 2018," he adds.

Lee and Cheong are cognisant that funding is also critical at this stage of the company's growth. So far, the co-founders have been funding KoolLogix's operations. To expand the business, the team has been speaking with venture capitalists and other strategic investors.

In Singapore, it counts household names such as OCBC and National Super Computing Centre as their customers.

KoolLogix is looking to spread its wings overseas, having recently made its foray into Indonesia. In June 2023, it set up a user experience centre in Jakarta to showcase its proprietary cooling data solution.

"We're taking things step by step," Cheong says. "Sustainability is at the heart of our missing. AI- enabled cooling solutions are essential to create sustainable AI-ready data centres."

"I see what we do as something truly meaningful for sustainability, and that is what's keeping us going."

*International Market Analysis Research and Consulting Group (IMARC Group) is a leading advisor on management strategy and market research worldwide