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Liquid cooling of remote or off-grid electronic enclosures

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Title: Liquid cooling of remote or off-grid electronic enclosures.
Abstract: A cooling system includes an electronic enclosure and a liquid-cooled heat exchanger configured to receive heated air from within the enclosure. A geothermal loop is connected to the heat exchanger to form a closed-loop path. The closed-loop path is suitable for circulating a pressurized liquid refrigerant between the geothermal loop and the heat exchanger to transfer heat from the heated air to the geothermal loop without the refrigerant undergoing a phase change. ...


Browse recent Alcatel-lucent Usa, Incorporated patents - Murray Hill, NJ, US
Inventor: William H. Scofield
USPTO Applicaton #: #20120090808 - Class: 165 45 (USPTO) - 04/19/12 - Class 165 
Heat Exchange > Geographical

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The Patent Description & Claims data below is from USPTO Patent Application 20120090808, Liquid cooling of remote or off-grid electronic enclosures.

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CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application is related to co-pending U.S. patent application Ser. No. 12/758,674 (attorney docket number 080077) filed by William H. Scofield and entitled “Electronic System Cooler”, commonly assigned with this application and incorporated herein by reference in its entirety.

TECHNICAL FIELD

This application is directed, in general, to cooling of electronic systems.

BACKGROUND

An electronic system dissipates heat that, unless removed, increases the temperature of components within the system. If allowed to rise too high, the temperature may reduce the operating life of some components, and in some cases may result in loss of a service provided by the electronic system. A cooling system may thus be used to reduce the temperature of the electronic system.

SUMMARY

One embodiment provides a cooling system. The cooling system includes an electronic enclosure and a liquid-cooled heat exchanger configured to receive heated air from within the enclosure. A geothermal loop is connected to the heat exchanger to form a closed-loop path. The closed-loop path is suitable for circulating a pressurized liquid refrigerant between the geothermal loop and the heat exchanger to transfer heat from the heated air to the geothermal loop without the liquid refrigerant undergoing a phase change.

Another embodiment provides a method. The method includes configuring a liquid-cooled heat exchanger to receive heated air from an electronic enclosure. The heat exchanger is connected to a geothermal loop to form a closed-loop path. The closed-loop path is suitable for circulating a pressurized liquid refrigerant between the geothermal loop and the heat exchanger to transfer heat from the heated air to the geothermal loop without the liquid refrigerant undergoing a phase change.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION

Reference is now made to the following descriptions taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 illustrates an embodiment of a system including an electronic enclosure and a cooling system having a closed-loop path;

FIG. 2 illustrates a vapor pressure curve representative of a refrigerant that may be used as a liquid refrigerant within the cooling system of FIG. 1; and

FIGS. 3A and 3B present a method that may be used to fabricate a cooling system, e.g., the cooling system of FIG. 1.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Some electronic system installations are located at a site that is difficult to reach, is off the electric grid, or both. An example of such a system is a remote cellular tower transceiver system. In some conventional installations, the electronic system is cooled by a refrigeration system, including a compressor, evaporator and condenser, and a refrigerant that is compressed and expanded in a refrigeration cycle. The power required to operate such a conventional system may be substantial. For example, a refrigeration system that dissipates 10 kW may be needed to remove 9 KW of heat dissipated by the electronic system. Thus, the site may require electrical infrastructure sufficient to provide 19-20 kW to the combined electronic and refrigeration systems.

The electronic system may be situated in a relatively inaccessible location, so the cost of repairing the electronic system may be quite expensive, and the loss of service supported by the electronic system, such as a cell phone tower, may result in lost revenues and customer goodwill. Moreover, the conventional refrigeration system typically includes various components that must be serviced, and may fail unpredictably, adding potential sources of failure and expense. Repairing and maintaining the refrigeration system may involve expensive or difficult travel and access by a service provider.

In other conventional installations, a geothermal cooling system using water or a water/glycol solution has been used. However, in such systems the coolant poses a significant risk to electronics being cooled. If a leak develops near these components, aqueous coolant may spill onto electronic assemblies or power supplies. An aqueous coolant may have a low enough resistivity, e.g. from dissolved solids (salts), to conduct a significant current. The current may cause immediate failure of electronic components due to shorting or arcing. Even if no immediate failure results, ionic contaminants may react with various parts of the electronic, such as tin-based solder connections, causing corrosion that may eventually lead to failure.

The inventor has recognized that the deficiencies of conventional practice may be reduced or overcome by a cooling system based on geothermal cooling using a liquid refrigerant that is circulated substantially without a phase change. The liquid refrigerant is expected to substantially reduce or eliminate the aforementioned risks of shorting and corrosion. Moreover, the geothermal cooling system is expected to have an inherently greater reliability than a cooling system that relies on refrigeration, e.g. a compression-expansion cycle. Furthermore, the power required to operate the geothermal cooling system is expected to be significantly lower than that needed for a refrigeration system. Thus, expenses associated with the equipment site may be significantly reduced, and reliability of the electronic system increased.

Turning to FIG. 1, illustrated is an embodiment of a system 100. The system 100 includes an electronic system 105 and a cooling system 110 configured to circulate a liquid refrigerant as a coolant. Herein the terms “liquid refrigerant” and “coolant” may be used interchangeably. Aspects of the refrigerant are described further below. The electronic system 105 includes an enclosure 115 that includes electrical components 120 that dissipate heat when operating. A fan 123 may circulate air within the enclosure through a liquid-cooled heat exchanger 125 having an inlet 126 and an outlet 127. Herein, a “liquid-cooled heat exchanger” is a heat exchanger configured to transfer heat from a warmer source to a cooler liquid coolant. The heat exchanger 125 is configured to receive heated air circulating within the enclosure 115, and to transfer heat from the heated air to a liquid coolant flowing in a closed-loop path that includes the heat exchanger 125. In various embodiments the heat exchanger 125 is a micro-channel heat exchanger.



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stats Patent Info
Application #
US 20120090808 A1
Publish Date
04/19/2012
Document #
12906845
File Date
10/18/2010
USPTO Class
165 45
Other USPTO Classes
International Class
24J3/08
Drawings
4



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