Cooling Operations Optimized for Leaps in Energy, Reliability and Carbon Hyperefficiency for Information Processing Systems (COOLERCHIPS)

Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) Number DE-FOA-0002851:
Cooling Operations Optimized for Leaps in Energy, Reliability and Carbon Hyperefficiency for Information Processing Systems (COOLERCHIPS) To obtain a copy of the Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) please go to the ARPA-E website at

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AGENCY OVERVIEW The Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E), an organization within the Department of Energy (DOE), is chartered by Congress in the America COMPETES Act of 2007 (P.L.

110-69), as amended by the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2010 (P.L.

111-358), as further amended by the Energy Act of 2020 (P.L.

“(A) to enhance the economic and energy security of the United States through the development of energy technologies that— (i) reduce imports of energy from foreign sources; (ii) reduce energy-related emissions, including greenhouse gases; (iii) improve the energy efficiency of all economic sectors; (iv) provide transformative solutions to improve the management, clean-up, and disposal of radioactive waste and spent nuclear fuel; and (v) improve the resilience, reliability, and security of infrastructure to produce, deliver, and store energy; and (B) to ensure that the United States maintains a technological lead in developing and deploying advanced energy technologies.” ARPA-E issues this Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) under its authorizing statute codified at 42 U.S.C.

§ 1653 8. The FOA and any cooperative agreements or grants made under this FOA are subject to 2 C.F.R.

Part 200 as supplemented by 2 C.F.R.

Part 910 .

ARPA-E funds research on, and the development of, transformative science and technology solutions to address the energy and environmental missions of the Department.

The agency focuses on technologies that can be meaningfully advanced with a modest investment over a defined period of time in order to catalyze the translation from scientific discovery to early-stage technology.

For the latest news and information about ARPA-E, its programs and the research projects currently supported, see:

ARPA-E funds transformational research.

Existing energy technologies generally progress on established “learning curves” where refinements to a technology and the economies of scale that accrue as manufacturing and distribution develop drive improvements to the cost/performance metric in a gradual fashion.

This continual improvement of a technology is important to its increased commercial deployment and is appropriately the focus of the private sector or the applied technology offices within DOE.

By contrast, ARPA-E supports transformative research that has the potential to create fundamentally new learning curves.

ARPA-E technology projects typically start with cost/performance estimates well above the level of an incumbent technology.

Given the high risk inherent in these projects, many will fail to progress, but some may succeed in generating a new learning curve with a projected cost/performance metric that is significantly better than that of the incumbent technology.

ARPA-E funds technology with the potential to be disruptive in the marketplace.

The mere creation of a new learning curve does not ensure market penetration.

Rather, the ultimate value of a technology is determined by the marketplace, and impactful technologies ultimately become disruptive – that is, they are widely adopted and displace existing technologies from the marketplace or create entirely new markets.

ARPA-E understands that definitive proof of market disruption takes time, particularly for energy technologies.

Therefore, ARPA-E funds the development of technologies that, if technically successful, have clear disruptive potential, e.g., by demonstrating capability for manufacturing at competitive cost and deployment at scale.

ARPA-E funds applied research and development.

The Office of Management and Budget defines “applied research” as an “original investigation undertaken in order to acquire new knowledge…directed primarily towards a specific practical aim or objective” and defines “experimental development” as “creative and systematic work, drawing on knowledge gained from research and practical experience, which is directed at producing new products or processes or improving existing products or processes.” Applicants interested in receiving financial assistance for basic research (defined by the Office of Management and Budget as “experimental or theoretical work undertaken primarily to acquire new knowledge of the underlying foundations of phenomena and observable facts”) should contact the DOE’s Office of Science (

Office of Science national scientific user facilities ( are open to all researchers, including ARPA-E Applicants and awardees.

These facilities provide advanced tools of modern science including accelerators, colliders, supercomputers, light sources and neutron sources, as well as facilities for studying the nanoworld, the environment, and the atmosphere.

Projects focused on early-stage R&D for the improvement of technology along defined roadmaps may be more appropriate for support through the DOE applied energy offices including:
the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (, the Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management (, the Office of Nuclear Energy (, and the Office of Electricity (

Program Overview Projects funded under The Cooling Operations Optimized for Leaps in Energy, Reliability and Carbon Hyperefficiency for Information Processing Systems (COOLERCHIPS) program will develop novel high performance, high reliability cooling systems for compute electronics.

These cooling systems will enable a new class of power-dense computational systems, data centers, and modular EDGE systems that will be cooled using 5% or less of the IT load at any location in the United States at any time of the year.

The COOLERCHIPS program will support the leveraging of recent nascent advances in thermal management, coolant flow technology, materials, manufacturing, design, controls, and reliability engineering.

Illustrative example areas of interest include, but are not limited to:
•New materials, surface treatments, thermal interface solutions, manufacturing methods and conduction methods for improving heat transfer from chipsets; •Advances in heat transfer to create and control 3D fluid structures with minimal thermal boundary layers; •Innovations in cooling system engineering for reliability that address severity, occurrence and detectability of potential component failures and novel ideas that include system level risk mitigation, health monitoring and controls; and •Novel modular data center or EDGE compute system designs that can operate high density compute systems at any time in any US location with highly efficient cooling systems.

The COOLERCHIPS FOA seeks to encourage the formation of multi-disciplinary teams to overcome the technology barriers for the development of high-performance cooling solutions that can simultaneously achieve the required system reliability and cost viability .

Proposing teams should incorporate expertise in relevant compute servers, heat transfer, reliability, modeling, data center techno-economics, data center operation, and commercialization.

ARPA-E has identified four Technical Categories for cooling system innovation opportunities.

As detailed further in Section I.D.2, they will focus on transformative solutions that can deliver low cooling power consumption (= 5% of the IT load) while supporting high rack power density (= 126 kW/ 42U rack or equivalent ) at any time and any location in the US (targeting 0. 4% design day targets analogous to ASHRAE methods) and show a path to system reliability and cost similar to that of conventional data centers today.

Technical Category A will focus on innovations for heat removal from server chipsets to facility cooling systems.

Such innovations could be applied in the compute room of existing data centers.

Technical Category B will support innovations in modular data center systems where individual stand-alone module/pods are envisioned with high performance computing systems that can operate in any outside ambient environment.

Technical Categories A and B will be supported by Technical Category C whose teams will develop and make available tools to design and analyze data center and compute cooling systems with the capability to optimize their reliability and minimize their energy, CO2 footprint, and cost at the system level.

Further support will be provided by Technical Category D which will provide testing facilities for performance evaluation and technology transition to commercialization.

These Technology Categories are described in Section I.D of this FOA.

Each application should be limited to only one Technical Category, although applicants may submit multiple applications for different Technical Categories and participate on multiple application teams.

Additionally, applicants may submit multiple applications to the same Technical Category if the applications are scientifically distinct.

COOLERCHIPS will be structured as a program with a period of performance up to 36 months.

In Technical Categories A and B, ARPA-E anticipates that awarded teams will initially execute an analytical/computational design effort and will reduce key risks through component testing and single server demonstration .

At the middle of proposed period of performance, a Go/No-Go milestone is anticipated that will determine whether key risks have been sufficiently retired to proceed to the second half of the project in which teams will develop, fabricate, and test full size prototypes (rack scale demonstration for Technical Category A and full-scale modular data center/EDGE system for Technical Category B).

See Section I.D.3, “Program Structure and Deliverables” for further details.

To view the FOA in its entirety, please visit
Agency: Department of Energy

Office: Advanced Research Projects Agency Energy

Estimated Funding: $42,000,000

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