Hydro66, founded in 2014 is a pioneering, ultra-efficient, green-field colocation data centre located in Boden, Northern Sweden. The data centre helps Enterprise, HPC Blockchain companies and Systems Integrators significantly reduce the cost and carbon footprint of their data.
In building the data centre, Hydro66 has changed the economics of colocation by rejecting expensive traditional designs. Instead, it has adapted techniques pioneered by internet giants for the colocation market, for which its clients reap the benefits.
The mission of Hydro66 was to provide colocation data centre users a new, improved alternative. They wanted to create a reliable, secure, low-cost hosting provision that was also environmentally friendly. This meant a move away from the traditional hot, cramped, city-based data centre model and a move to rural Sweden where there was space to build a hyperscale data centre located beside huge quantities of sustainable power that was directly connected to multiple reliable grids.
A key measure for this ultra-low-cost green energy colocation space was going to be its Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE). PUE is the ratio of the total amount of energy used by a data centre compared to the energy delivered to computing equipment. Hydro66 had an ambitious target of a PUE of below 1.05. With PUE largely driven by cooling design, it meant that Hydro66 needed a very efficient solution for keeping its processes cool. The only viable solution would be a fresh air cooling system.
In adopting free air cooling and rejecting compressor-based or indirect free air solutions Hydro66 needed a solution that would process and filter large volumes of air efficiently and also be able to control humidity.
In 2015, Hydro66 approached EcoCooling as it had heard of the cooling solutions it has provided data centres in the UK. Working collaboratively with Hydro66, EcoCooling was able to design and produce a new type of evaporative cooler that could be deployed in the Boden based data centre.
The ECT10800 model was designed to suit the specific requirements of a data centre in a Nordic climate. Adopting a modular design for the coolers meant that the internal units could be installed in stages, thereby helping Hydro66 to avoid any planning issues. Another key element of the design was the use of Electronically Commutated (EC) axial fans. These were chosen as they accommodate the larger flow rates and pressure and are more efficient as their power usage is proportional to the cube of the speed. What’s more, the EC fans can be controlled as a group so the ventilation rate can be reduced in line with the data centre’s redundancy and spare capacity.
An intelligent control system was installed as part of the system so Hydro66 could constantly optimise the fan energy use to reflect actual cooling requirements in a dynamic environment. On warmer days, the adiabatic cooling is enabled, to ensure that the supply air never exceeds 22oC. This means the site is compliant with ASHRAE standards without the need for mechanical refrigeration. Furthermore, in response to the low relative humidity of the Nordic climate, EcoCooling added recirculation loop into the system, so when needed warm air from the data centre is passed over the adiabatic pads to humidify the air in line with ASHRAE guidelines. This novel solution means that the adiabatic pads are used for two functions – cooling in hot weather and humidification in cold weather conditions.
Using innovative techniques EcoCooling has been able to deploy a unit that is highly efficient to run, especially when the data centre is not running to full capacity. In these circumstances, the EC fan can run at a reduced speed, which, if set at 80% cuts its energy consumption in half and by 87.5% when set at 50%. This enables Hydro66 to keep its colocation costs low, enabling it to compete with the traditional data centre model.
The installation of the ECT10800 units has allowed Hydro66 to have an effective cooling system that is ideally suited for its cutting edge, Nordic based colocation model. Having officially opened in 2015, Hydro66 has been successful in attracting companies to its colocated data centre.
“Hydro66 had a very clear vision of how we could bring a new model to colocation – one where the customer wins significantly on both cost and sustainability. We were fortunate to discover EcoCooling who were able to exceed our expectations. Not only in terms of pure efficiency of their equipment but more importantly their desire and capability to enhance their solutions to our specific use case.”
Operations Director, Hydro66
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