Flow Battery, the new CPU cooling solution! Computers have come a long way from huge room sized dinosaurs to bulky desktops to the modern day compact PCs. But with this shrinkage in size one problem has persisted: how to cool the processors?
Although the solutions have evolved from air cooled fan based systems to expensive water cooled rigs that are very good at keeping things chilly, mostly used in gaming rigs where CPUs are overclocked. Even liquid nitrogen has been employed for the task and does great wonders when used, however, it is very expensive and almost impractical for the average PC user.
A new cooling solution may soon make its way into mainstream use: Flow Batteries. Researchers at ETH Zurich and IBM Research Zurich developed super small batteries that generate electricity and take away excess heat from the processor. Flow batteries are a type of rechargeable fuel cell that has an electrolyte that generates the electric charge but can also be made to function as a cooling agent by having it siphon away the processor’s heat.
The current prototype that the team worked on only 1.5 mm thick and produces 1.4 Watt of power, which is quite high for its size which is claimed to be a record relative to the battery’s size. However, the current prototype is not powerful enough to fulfill the power requirements of a modern processor.
Though that does not mean it won’t be. The concept has been proven to work and appears to be more viable than most other battery types. It is hoped that with future advances in technology, maybe one day the Flow Battery could reach a point where its output is high enough for it to be used in practical, everyday real world applications.