Issue 5, Aug/Sep 2009
NEW KID ON THE COOLING BLOCK GOES AFTER THE BIG BOYS
A Californian start-up entered the data center cooling market in June, making bold claims that it had designed a comprehensive cooling system more efficient than those manufactured by the likes of APC and Liebert
CORE4 FINDS A FAN IN SONIC.NET
GOOGLE DROPS CHILLERS
Belgium data center relies entirely on free cooling
Google stirred a wave of headlines earlier in the year when it became known that the search giant’s new data center in Saint-Ghislain, Belgium, uses water-side economization, completely abstaining from mechanical water chillers.
The first company to deploy Core4’s solution was Sonic.net
, which claimed it was able to cut total cooling cost for its data center in Santa Rosa, California, by about 70% after letting the start-up retrofit the facility with the new system. The new kit replaced three two- year-old Liebert air handlers.
undertook the project because it needed to expand the data center’s capacity. A bid to add two more similar Liebert units was priced at about $250,000, Sonic.net
CEO Dane Jasper said, while the Core4 retrofit was estimated to cost more than $600,000.
The company went with the latter bid because of the monthly energy cost-savings Core4 promised its system would enable. After the project’s completion, the facility’s monthly energy bill was $10-$12,000 lower than it had been with the Liebert system, Jasper said.
PG&E, one of the largest utilities in California, also issued Sonic.net
a $153,000 rebate in recognition of the increased energy efficiency the company had achieved by investing in the new cooling system.
Core4 said 44% of total savings were due to its patent-pending Reduced Compression design methodology. The remainder of the savings were achieved by an efficient fan system and refrigerant-side economisation (also patent-pending).
’s Santa Rosa facility has about 5,000 sq ft of data center floor and 5,000 sq ft of empty space for expansion.
“It’s a great win from an energy perspective,” Google’s Green Energy Program Manager Erik Teetzel said. “It’s also great from the (capital) cost perspective. We decided to … leave out the capital cost of buying mechanical chillers.”
While Belgium’s mild climate did not hurt, it was not the primary factor in choosing location for the facility.
“Our data centers have to meet business needs first and foremost,” Teetzel said. “There’s a lot of locations – globally – where this could work.”
The facility’s design, he said, was not much different from design of the company’s other data centers.
“We’ve been pretty explicit about using water-side economizers. We’ve spent a lot of effort … designing, building and operating” facilities that deploy the technology.
Cooling towers at the facility are filled with wastewater from a nearby canal. It is treated on-site. “We process the water in our cooling towers.”
The company sees its “smart water policy” as effective in terms of cost, risk mitigation and supply insurance.
Overall, Teetzel said he was excited about innovation taking place in the industry around cutting data center cooling costs.
“We’ve seen a lot of advanced technologies (but) I still am most impressed with taking
very inexpensive solutions and using very smart air-flow management to be able to have a well-regulated temperature environment. Hopefully, we’ll see many more innovative, interesting designs.”
NEW LIQUID- AND AIR-COOLING SOLUTIONS INTRODUCED
Several new cooling solutions appeared on the market during this warm summer. Lytron released a coolant distribution system and Airedale teamed with Prism to create a new rear-door heat exchanger.
Lytron’s new unit – announced in June – is capable of cooling an electrical load of up to 150kW. The LCS50 carries controlled temperature coolant to the racks and takes excess heat to facility water. The temperature of the coolant delivered to the equipment is above dew point, which precludes condensation.
The unit’s programmable controller has the ability to track the amount of time each hot-swappable pump has been running and to conduct periodic tests on the back-up pump. It also features system-error alerts, lock-out protection, temperature and flow control options and remote monitoring communication. LCS50’s size allows for in-row placement.
The new rear-door heat exchanger, manufactured by air-conditioning company Airedale and cabinet maker Prism, has an EER of up to 174 and optional n+1 fan configuration. OnRak cools down the air that servers discharge into the aisle.
According to the system’s maker, the unit with EER of 144 consumes 1,410kW/h when a traditional close-control unit with the same capacity takes 11,388kW/h. The manufacturer promises further substantial energy savings when OnRak is matched with a free-cooling chiller.
An integrated data center cooling solution can be created by linking a large-capacity Airedale air-cooled chiller with multiple OnRak units.
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