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At Cornell, Lake Source Cooling brings sustainability, precision to synchrotron

By District Energy posted 09-27-2023 06:32


Cornell Chronicle


The science of flinging around X-rays, electrons and positron beams to study the secret life of matter requires a tremendous amount of energy. It also requires a constant supply of cool water to keep the technology functioning consistently and prevent it from overheating.

For decades, the Wilson Laboratory, which houses the Cornell High Energy Synchrotron Source (CHESS), has relied on four immense cooling towers that evaporate 10,000 gallons of water daily to reduce the temperature of the nearly 650 electromagnets – some roughly twice the size of a human being – that line a half-mile-long ring buried 40 feet below a scenic swath of east campus.

Those towers are now obsolete because the lab has tapped into the university’s Lake Source Cooling (LSC) system, which draws cold water from the depths of Cayuga Lake to remove heat from the district chilled water loop that cools the majority of Cornell facilities. For Wilson Lab, this approach is not only more efficient and sustainable – it will bring greater precision to its experiments. LSC will also, for the first time, enable CHESS to operate year-round.

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