ThermoKey recently participated in two major events in the world of data centres: the Data Centre World exhibition in London and Data Center Nation in Milan. These opportunities have strengthened our international presence and allowed us to share and enrich our know-how with the latest developments in the market.

The discussions and interactions at these exhibition outlined a rapidly changing landscape: the exponential increase in data generated by the IoT, the ever-increasing adoption of cloud computing, the growing demands for high performance from industries such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, along with strict privacy regulations, are putting data centres at the heart of digitalization and connectivity strategies globally.

One of the most pressing challenges to emerge is the energy sustainability of these infrastructures. Cooling systems, essential for maintaining optimal conditions in data centres, consume massive amounts of energy. Faced with this scenario, innovation in cooling systems becomes crucial to reduce environmental impact and improve energy efficiency.

ThermoKey is committed to driving this transformation by developing advanced technologies that effectively address market needs with innovative and sustainable solutions. Below, we will explore the key themes emerging at the exhibitions and present some of our initiatives to address them.

Key themes emerging at the exhibitions


The energy requirement of data centres is growing globally due to the increasing use of cloud computing, artificial intelligence (AI), and data-driven applications. The energy required for cooling can account for a significant portion (about 40%) of a data centre’s overall energy consumption.

After globally consuming an estimated 460 terawatt-hours (TWh) in 2022, data centre total electricity consumption could reach more than 1.000 TWh in 2026.

Also in Italy the energy consumption by data centre is destined to increase, as confirmed by the trend recorded in the last 3 years: only in 2023 this figure grew by 23%.


The latest European regulations for data centre set specific energy consumption targets and reporting obligations to improve energy efficiency and sustainability. The EU Energy Efficiency Directive (EED) aims to reduce energy use and carbon emissions in Europe by 11.7% by 2030, in line with the EU Green Deal goal of a 55% cut in carbon emissions by that same date. Data centres are expected to become more efficient, and the first step is mandatory reporting of energy use and emissions from data centres which are larger than 500kW. Starting on May 15, 2024, data centre owners and operators in the EU will have to report their data centre’s energy performance for the previous year annually into a European database, including floor area, installed power, data volumes, energy consumption, PUE, temperature set points, waste heat utilization, water usage, and use of renewable energy.

In particular, the PUE, or Power Usage Effectiveness, is a metric used to measure the energy efficiency of a data centre. It is calculated as the ratio of total facility energy to IT equipment energy used in a data centre, with a lower PUE indicating higher efficiency. According to various studies, currently the average PUE of a data centre is around 1.5 but European regulation has decreed that soon the PUE of a data centre will not be able to exceed 1.2


Data centre are responsible for massive carbon emissions, water usage for cooling systems, and extensive electricity consumption. The cooling system is a major contributor to the energy consumption of data centre, accounting for 40% of the power used on average in modern data centres.

To address these concerns, various cooling methods and systems are employed in data centre. Traditional air cooling is a reliable method but can consume high amounts of energy, especially in warmer climates.

Liquid cooling is becoming increasingly popular due to its high efficiency and lower carbon footprint.

Evaporative cooling and free cooling reduce the dependence on mechanical cooling systems, thereby reducing energy consumption.


The three main data centre cooling typologies:


PUE = ~ 1.5

Air cooled

This is a traditional cooling method where air is used to cool the data centre equipment. It can be further divided into room-based and row-based configurations. Room-based solutions involve cooling the entire room, while row-based solutions focus on cooling specific rows of equipment.


  • Simple and economical to make and maintain
  • very flexible


  • Lower density, lower power efficiency
  • Does not work with tempered water

Flexibility and Efficiency

PUE = ~ 1.2

Rack level heat exchangers

This method involves placing heat exchangers directly on the racks or in the rear doors of the racks. This allows for more precise cooling and can reduce the overall energy consumption of the cooling system.


  • Allows for better PUE


  • More expensive than air cooling
  • Often combined with air cooling for some rack components

Performance and Efficiency

PUE ≤ 1.1

Direct water cooled (DLC)

This method involves using water to directly cool the data centre equipment. This can be done using immersion cooling or direct-to-chip cooling. Direct water cooling can provide higher cooling efficiency and lower energy consumption compared to air cooling.


  • High power efficiency
  • Highest density
  • Work with tempered water


  • Very expensive to realize and maintain
  • Unflexible
  • Not compatible with all current systems

Until now, the DLC (Direct Water Cooled) was limited to HPC (High-Performance Computing) but now the new data centre regulations will lead to a greater use of this cooling technology. It is estimated that by 2030 50% of all servers will be liquid-cooled, and most with immersion systems, but it is likely that almost all solutions can be considered hybrid, as they will still have an air-cooled part.


One of the main negative effects of cooling systems is waste heat. This heat is released into the environment and therefore impacts negatively on the PUE of the entire data centre infrastructure.

However, there are realities that have made waste heat a resource, including the Italian company A2A, which in Milan has managed to reuse the heat generated by the servers of the data centre Avalon 3 transferring it to a nearby district heating network, used to heat buildings in the surrounding area. This innovative approach not only reduces the environmental impact of the data centre, but also provides a valuable resource for the local community. Thanks to heat recovery on district heating, the data centre avoids the energy consumption of chillers, thereby reducing PUE and further improving the sustainability of the data centre.

For some countries, such as Germany, the reuse of waste heat will soon be a duty imposed by the new regulations and, therefore, the use of technologies such as our Multi System Dual Flow will be indispensable.

In ThermoKey we patented a technology that uses two circuits in microchannel cores (MCHX) where an additional coolant can help to reduce the temperature of the incoming air and recover some of the heat otherwise released into the atmosphere. By introducing water into the closed-loop pipes, compared to traditional adiabatic systems, there is no water consumption so the system is not subjected to problems regarding critical hygienic conditions. From the tests conducted, the Multi System Dual Flow allows to increase the capacity by more than 50%, which allows to reduce the necessary units or the size of the exchanger by 32%.


Data centres are bought and tested for performance at full load (100%) but in practice they usually do not all work at the same time, since their use depends on the demand of the services they provide. According to a cloud computing survey, in most cases the server usage rate is between 20 and 40% (and almost never above 70%), suggesting that many servers are not used at their maximum capacity.

This under-utilisation can lead to significant inefficiencies and cost increases and therefore it is essential to assess and manage the efficiency of the system even at partial load. ThermoKey has recently introduced a new solution, the Modular Dry Cooler, which thanks to its design allows you to turn on/off the modules that make it up based on real needs. Each module has 4 cores and 2 fans and provides 200 kW. The flexibility of the modular system also allows you to implement the power over time in case of increased need.