FOCUS on POWER
In the town of Quincy in the US, home to major data centers for Microsoft, Yahoo! and Intuit, data centers use in total, 46 large diesel engines.
Noise is another issue. People and legislators make allowances for ‘emergency use’ but when a generator runs almost every day it needs to be quiet.
And finally there is fuel cost. Oil prices fluctuate wildly but overall, there steady trend upwards. Hence, generator manufacturers are under pressure like never before to make their machines cleaner, quieter and more fuel efficient.
DIESEL SUCCESS STORIES But despite the problems, deals are being done and generators installed. In the summer of 2009, E1 Dynamics, Euro-Diesel’s US subsidiary based in Houston, Texas, won a deal for eight units of 2625 kVA NO-BREAK systems (a total of 16.8 MW), for Cisco’s data centre site in Texas. The eight units are running and have been in full operation since September 2010.
The NO-BREAK system is unusual in that it is a complete uniterruptible power supply (UPS), not just a stand-by generator. As you can see in figure 1, there are four major sub-systems. In normal mains operation the ‘Synchronous Machine’ acts as a current conditioning device, and also supplies energy to the ‘Kinetic Energy Accumulator’ which acts as an electric flywheel. If mains power fails, stored, kinetic energy drives the Synchronous stage as a generator at the same time the electro magnetic clutch operates kicking the engine into life.
E1 DYNAMICS said it was originally not considered to be in contention with other manufacturers for the contract and that it at first simply filled a ‘competitive bid’ spot. E1 said it believes its success hinged on its ability to prove its competency and product reliability and a willingness to build a special configuration requested by Cisco.
Jean-Pierre Le Roux, sales director of Euro-Diesel in France, said he believes the NO-BREAK system offers excellent total cost of ownership (TCO). Another recent win involved four units for a bank data center in France that came online at the end of 2010.
“This investment will be good for 20 years. The NO-BREAK is very cost effective over this period, so that’s why the client chose to work with us,” Le Roux said.
AVK|SEG supplies, installs and maintains UPS, generator systems and power conversion and protection systems, including battery-based and battery-less systems. It said 2010 was an interesting year when it came to deployments.
attenuation and its exhaust system is part mounted within the container.
All these design features provide a low noise level at the boundary of the site compound.
All generator control panels and the command programme logic controllers use the Kerys Man Machine Interface touch control colour screen. The Kerys Commander system takes control of the total output of the generating sets and synchronizes this with mains for no-break transfer of load from generating sets to mains.
Kerys also has an IP address which allows remote monitoring anywhere in the world via the Internet. The handful of projects we have featured have one thing in common, innovative solutions to tricky problems.
Emissions from data center diesel engines are becoming an environmental concern
Following three months of careful preparation, a team of 100 people managed to install £2.5 million of new uninterruptible power systems and standby power generation at William Morris House, Mitcham Data Center in the UK over a single weekend in September. The new electrical infrastructure provides increased UPS capacity and standby electrical generation.
In the same month AVK|SEG recently completed a major data center project in West London using its Low Space Low Noise Containerised Generators.
The low space is achieved using the 12- metre standard ISO footprint, giving five metres between containers, providing suitable access space. The water jacket and turbo-heat is removed using roof-mounted radiators with slow variable speed fans to reduce operating noise. The ambient heat is removed using fixed speed fans and
With innovations such as these the diesel generator space could still have a strong future in data center design. In January, General Electric announced its plans to purchase Lineage Power Holdings from a LA-based private equity firm, the Gores Group. The US$520m purchase will bring Lineage’s high-efficiency power conversion infrastructure technology into GE’s product set, which includes diesel generators.
GE said the take up of cloud computing, mobile Internet, video and real-time data increased energy demands on the data center. Lineage said its products prioritize sustainable energy sources like solar, wind, water and fuel cells over traditional utility grid or diesel generator sources – and [allow power systems to] intelligently respond to smart grid information to reduce [a company’s energy] consumption during peak demand periods.
Lineage also works with Verizon, Cisco, Ericsson, HP and Oracle, proving the market is strong if the players can adapt to make diesel generators cope with environmental challenges in the data center space.
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