Free cooling with water

Free cooling with water is an economic and environmentally friendly alternative to producing cold. When utilizing free cooling as your chosen source, less mechanical cooling is required. That means fewer harmful refrigerants and fossil fuels are necessary to keep systems running.

Thanks to our continuous research and development strategy, we can supply products for any cooling application, regardless of cooling media or source. We can utilize any kind of aggressive cooling media you want to use, from sea and brackish water, to river and well water.

Plus, with a compact plate heat exchanger in your system, you can isolate the chilled water loop from all your sensitive equipment and confidently eliminate any potential for corrosion, scaling or constant maintenance. Please note that in sea and freshwater applications, we recommend you use a filter to protect your heat exchanger.

Contact us to discuss your application needs


More sustainable, efficient and cost-effective data centers

Liquid cooling can help data centers save up to 30% of their cooling energy costs, while reducing their overall environmental impact. Plus, more efficient cooling can allow for increased rack density, so data centers can make more revenue per square foot. Lower costs and higher revenue? It’s possible. Let our guide to driving data center cost savings with energy management technology show you how.

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Free cooling with a chiller

free cooling of datacenter with a chiller

In the spring and autumn, a combination of free cooling and chiller-produced cold is used, whereas in summer, the chiller does most of the cooling alone. Water is a form of free cooling and can come from rivers, lakes, (deep) oceans, ground water, ice and snow storage.

Free cooling with a chiller bypass

free cooling of datacenter with a chiller bypass

Producing electricity often involves air pollution, so reducing the electricity consumption of your chiller has a positive effect on the environment. Installing a chiller bypass system will save costs and improve the PUE and CUE value of your system. Plus, it will help cover cooling requirements during periods when the free cooling source has lower temperatures than your chilled water, like winter.


Savings across many dimensions

Using free cooling with water and a well-designed gasketed plate heat exchanger improves the cost-efficiency and sustainability of your data center in many ways. We know this because using AHRI performance certified heat exchangers has been proved to reduce your power usage effectiveness (PUE) by 2 %. It will even decrease the carbon usage effectiveness (CUE) of your facility by the same amount. Plus, a heat exchanger in your cooling system enables more efficient heat recovery and lower OPEX as a result. 

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Design your system for maximum profitability

Designing heat exchangers for a data center is different than designing for HVAC applications. Firstly, we need to find the right temperatures for a continuous cooling process. Then there are other important design parameters to consider and calculate, like flow rates, turbulence, fouling and pressure drop.

A heat exchanger that is designed correctly will increase cooling system reliability and maintain high efficiency levels. At Alfa Laval we can help you optimize your cooling needs with our proven heat exchanger solutions and leading expertise in data center cooling.

Watch this video with our expert, Gemma Reeves, to learn more about how to design heat exchangers for free cooling with water in a data center. 

The benefits of a gasketed plate-and-frame heat exchanger

  • Enables bypassing of chiller for free cooling when outdoor temperature and climate allows
  • Reduced use of water and pumping costs thanks to cleaner pipes and minimized flushing needs
  • Reduced maintenance costs for downstream cooling equipment
  • Improved uptime with no unplanned shutdown due to corrosion issues
  • Simple and easy cleaning of heat exchanger by single operator in just a few hours
  • Certified performance in accordance with AHRI regulations


Learn more about our gasketed heat exchangers


Cooling loop protection

A cooling system that incorporates a heat exchanger and an Alfa Laval Filter can be used to cool the most sensitive process equipment, even with polluted or corrosive water. The Alfa Laval Filter (ALF) is integral to any heat exchanger cooling system, as it removes debris that can foul and clog heat exchangers.

Without the Alfa Laval Filter, mussels, seaweed, and other forms of marine life can settle on the heat transfer surfaces, even after effective screening at the water intake stage. The growth conditions in the cooling system are ideal for these lifeforms, which increases their multiplication rate and causes less effective heat transfer. In many cases they can even cause heat exchangers and other equipment to breakdown.

Watch this movie to learn more about the ALF solution.



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The benefits of an ALF filter

  • Heat exchangers protected from debris and marine life
  • Increased cooling system uptime
  • Lower maintenance costs
  • Ensures continuous GPHE performance, even when backflushing
  • Automatic backflushing performed without interrupting the filtering process
  • Easy installation and maintenance
  • Proven & reliable technology
  • Full support from Alfa Laval Service teams throughout equipment lifecycle


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Discover the future of green IT with Alfa Laval

Alfa Laval has supplied solutions for cooling server rooms since the earliest days of the internet. Today, we offer a wide range of solutions for data center cooling, all backed by a worldwide service network with experts who understand your business. By partnering with us as you begin planning your data center project, we can help you design a system that ensures you get maximum cooling efficiency and reliability.

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Keep your cooling system running smoothly

Alfa Laval service and support can help you design, install and maintain your free cooling equipment throughout its lifecycle. In addition to regular audits and cleaning, we also recommend frequent backflushing on the incoming flow of cooling water for short periods of time. In this sequence, the reversed water scrapes off and flushes out accumulated debris from the heat exchanger plate surface. Following these service tips and more can save you time and money while minimizing downtime. Contact our team for personalized support.

Performance audits

Our trained experts review and analyse the actual thermal performance of your equipment. Using modern tools, they can detect for fouling or similar risks, enabling you to better plan your maintenance needs in order to optimize system uptime.

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Alfa Laval cleaning-in-place (CIP) systems enable quick and easy in-line cleaning of heat exchangers for managing fouling. With environmentally friendly, biodegradable cleaning agents, our CIP eliminates unnecessary repeated opening of your equipment. As a result, you drastically reduce spare parts consumption and the man-hours needed for maintenance.


Questions? Challenges? Support? Don’t worry – that’s what we’re here for.

Want to find out how the right cooling technology can help your data center achieve greener goals? Fill out the form, and one of our experts will get in touch with more information.

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