It would be hard to imagine modern life without data centers – they power businesses and support industrial activity around the world. But running all these servers requires a huge amount of energy. The International Energy Agency estimates that the data center industry currently uses around 1% of the world’s electricity – and that figure could reach double digits by 2030. But if the energy consumption of data centers data is an important issue, data center cooling is a crucial factor, too.
Despite the growth in the number and size of installations around the world, the demand for electricity has not increased as strongly, and this is thanks to more efficient architectures that eliminate everything that is surplus to requirements. In 2016, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory estimated that upgrading from small to very large scale facilities could result in a 25% increase economy in power consumption, and there are now hundreds of these much larger data centers in operation.
Finding New Ways to Cool Data Centers
Innovation in data center cooling systems and the identification of ways to reuse, rather than waste, the heat emitted from computer racks and racks, have played a major role in moderating energy consumption. ‘energy. Here on TechHQ we talked about initiatives that have taken this innovation forward, such as Facebook sending its hot water to greenhouses to heat them up in the winter, and this approach that uses water-cooled facilities, developed by Nautilus Data Technologies, which builds facilities that float.
Other big names, like Microsoft in this case, have looked to the sea not just as a cooling solution, but also as a way to deliver fast cloud services to coastal populations. In a pilot study ending in 2020, the IT giant concluded that underwater data centers were “reliable, convenient and used energy sustainably”.
Search for efficiency
More than 40% of a data center’s energy needs are used for cooling, and data centers typically use conventional water cooling systems, which not only have high energy and water requirements, but also release waste heat in the environment. Moreover, the appetite for cloud services continues unabated and the trend for enterprises to increasingly migrate business from on-premises providers to hosted providers persists.
European demand for data centers – as measured in the key markets of Amsterdam, Dublin, Frankfurt, London and Paris – has grown by around a third in 2021, according to analyst reports. But while this can be good for business growth and revenue, it raises concerns about energy consumption. And there are at least two ripple effects to think about here.
There is the impact on other commercial developments and nearby housing – law firm Pinsent Mason highlighted concerns such as the Irish Utilities Regulatory Commission’s warning that the growth of data could lead to electricity supply risks elsewhere. Modeling suggests that up to a third of Ireland’s electricity demand could come from data centers by 2030. And the forecast does not appear to include planning applications for new installations, which would increase this numbers.
Another important consideration is the magnitude of emissions released into the atmosphere where electricity has been generated using fossil fuels. These broadcasts cast a shadow over the benefits that data centers bring in the context of climate change. And even when electricity is supplied by green technology, any efficiencies that can be extracted from the system allow operators to do more with the resources they have.
Swedish telecommunications company Telia, which operates in several northern European countries, celebrated the opening of Estonia’s first solar-powered data center (located in the upper Laagri district of the country) in the summer of 2020. And the company has continued to use similar technology to operate a number of its mobile base stations – the communication points for mobile phone networks.
As in the Nautilus example, Telia reduces energy waste by using the heat generated by the IT infrastructure to heat its nearby office buildings. Furthermore, it should be added that solar-powered installations are very trendy – for example, Facebook’s Snipesville II data center (located in Georgia, USA) which became fully operational in December 2021 has more than 350,000 solar modules that follow the sun for energy.
And after going to great lengths (and expense) to harvest renewable energy, operators want to get the most out of it by using electricity as efficiently as possible, and that’s where the latest technologies in commercial cooling fit. And many see these as essential to ensuring the industry’s sustainable growth.
Tropical wonder with global appeal
ST Engineering recently announced a breakthrough in cooling systems with the launch of its new Airbitat DC cooling system, marking its entry into the data center cooling market. An innovation from its Urban Environment Solutions (UES) business, the Airbitat DC Cooling System provides powerful pre-cooling for tropical data centers, achieving annual net energy savings of more than 20% compared to cooling systems alone. conventional cooling. This translates to annual energy savings of approximately $104 per kW of heat load.
Combined with existing cooling systems, Airbitat’s DC cooling system enables data centers to achieve a targeted power utilization efficiency (PUE) of less than 1.3 (a perfect score of 1.0 would mean that all power supplied is used by IT equipment and all of the above which reflects cooling needs and power consumed by other support services). This performance is said to represent a significant improvement over current regulatory requirements for data centers and positions it to meet tougher standards for future data center builds. Online PUE calculators score 1.3 in the “Effective” to “Very Effective” range.
Gareth Tang, Urban Environment Solutions Manager at ST Engineering, points out that the units are not just for new builds and can be easily deployed in existing data centers, allowing operators to reduce the power needed to run their sites. .
Backed by extensive R&D efforts, the Airbitat DC cooling system includes a Dual Coil Computer Room Air Handler (CRAH) and a Deep Cooling Unit powered by patented Reevac Deep Cooling technology. The Airbitat DC cooling system works by pre-cooling the warm air returning to the data hall to reduce the heat load of the existing cooling system by more than 40%. This arrangement has been shown to reduce the overall energy load for cooling by more than 20%.
The Airbitat DC cooling system can operate in a variety of climatic conditions ranging from hot and humid environments to hot and dry environments – a wide operating window that is suitable for many parts of the world. Smart controls built into the setup sense ambient psychrometric conditions and automatically adjust its real-time cooling modes for consistent energy-efficient cooling. Finally, the modular layout and ability to scale on demand to accommodate varying data center cooling requirements (as well as structural and layout constraints) allows for easy integration into brownfield and green developments.
Additional reports by TechHQSister site of: TechWire Asia