EcoCooling Direct Evaporative and Free Cooling Data Centre Cooling Solutions
The use of electricity in the IT sector has both financial and environmental significance. Many data centres consume as much electricity in their cooling systems as in their servers. This has both cost and power availability implications. It is believed the IT sector has a bigger carbon footprint than air travel and consumes over 5% of the developed world’s electricity. Many operators want to reduce their impact on the environment by consuming less energy.
An EcoCooling direct evapoative cooling system can reduce your IT or data centre cooling costs by up to 90%, comply with ASHRAE 9.9 and produce a PUE (Power Usage Effectiveness) of under 1.1.
How EcoCooling systems operate in Data Centres
In very cold climates such as the Nordics and Arctic circle, where ambient temperatures never exceed 25°C, fresh air can be used all year round to cool a data centre. This is called free cooling and EcoCooling’s ECV range is designed specifically to exploit these climates to achieve world-class levels of efficiency without the need for supplementary cooling. However, in warmer conditions, or when IT equipment requires cooler inlet temperatures, free cooling alone cannot meet the required internal conditions, supplementary cooling is required on the hotter days. EcoCooling uses direct evaporative cooling in their products and systems as an energy efficient and reliable alternative to refrigeration for data centre cooling
Standard external CREC® system: 60kW evaporative cooling module for data centres:
The EcoCooling CREC® control system operates the EcoCoolers in different modes depending on the ambient conditions, systems can be controlled using both humidity and temperature parameters. These modes maximise the EcoCoolers’ efficiency and performance and are tuned during the commissioning process for individual facilities:
- Ventilation: Energy efficient fans move fresh air through the area being cooled and transport heat away.
- Attemperation/Recirculation: During colder weather, the CREC® control system automatically mixes hot recirculated air with cold external air to supply air at a predefined set-point temperature.
- Evaporative Cooling: During hot weather, air is moved over a wetted CELdek® cooling pad. The air temperature is reduced as the water evaporates. Temperature compliance can be achieved with no need for mechanical refrigeration.
N.b. In ECV FreeCooling systems there are no evaporative cooling media, therefore, there are only 2 modes of operation, ventilation and attemperation.
When fresh air is used in a data centre there can be a risk of either particulate or gaseous contamination. The quality of the air in the locality of the data centre can affect the feasibility of the use of fresh air. It is now normal to fit filtration to a minimum of EU4/G4 standards. EcoCooling would usually advise dual filtration for IT installations. Air intake filtration (pre-filter jackets) is designed to eliminate potential contamination from external air. In addition cartridge filters can be used in either ducting or as replacement ceiling tiles to filter the recirculated air.
EC Fans – Efficient Airflow through your Data Centre
Electronically commutated (EC) fans are driven by a micro-controller instead of a traditional AC motor. The technology provides the following advantages:
- Increased speed control: EC technology enables continuous adjustment of the fan speed to meet the cooling demands of the data centre. EcoCooling control systems are designed to take advantage of the energy savings which can be gained by reducing fan speeds.
- Low power usage at partial loads: The effect of fan speed on power drain is governed by a cubed relationship, meaning that at half the speed the fan will be using an eighth of the electricity. Operating the EcoCooling system at half speed reduces the fan energy use by over 85%.
Free cooling is an economical method of using low external air temperatures to reduce the amount of additional cooling required. When the ambient external temperature is below the desired supply set point the CREC® system can run in ventilation and attemperation mode. On warmer days of the year, evaporative cooling is used to cool the supply air. EcoCooling CREC® control systems and EcoCoolers (direct evaporative cooling) can exploit the full free cooling envelope.
The number of exploitable free cooling days is dependent on your location and desired supply temperature;
- Cooler climates provide more free cooling potential.
- Higher supply temperatures increase the available number of free cooling days.
Cooling in the Nordics and The Arctic Circle
Colder locations, such as the Nordics, (see Hydro66 case study) where there are conditions for free cooling and an abundance of low-carbon hydropower, are becoming more popular for data centre operators and builders. The key advantages are low-cost cooling and power, and practically unlimited renewable generation capacity and grid infrastructure to support large data centres. EcoCooling’s Nordic range has been specifically developed by in-house engineers to accommodate Nordic data centre requirements including the very low temperatures which can result in low humidity environments.
ASHRAE – Achieving Compliance
The internationally accepted environmental standards for running data centres are contained in the ASHRAE TC 9.9 guidelines. Temperature, humidity and contamination levels are all identified as important factors when designing a fresh air or evaporative cooling system for a server room or data centre. EcoCooling solutions optimise the cooling efficiency and provide acceptable conditions for the majority of the time. Visit the ASHRAE website here.
|Temperature||While ASHRAE has an allowable range from 15-32°C, care should be taken running at high temperatures as server ventilation has been shown to increase its energy use at temperatures over 25°C.||Systems can provide supply air temperatures below 25°C all year round in the UK and most of Europe. Control systems provide close control (+/-1°C) and a large percentage of the year 16°C supply air temperature delivery is achievable.|
|Humidity||The ASHRAE allowable range is between 20-80% relative humidity. Low humidity can result in electrostatic discharge. High humidity, in combination with certain contaminants, can result in corrosion.||CREC control systems can automatically transfer the cooling to 3rd party backup systems if the humidity levels exceed the pre-set parameters.|
|Contaminants||EcoCooling products are based on direct fresh air cooling. It is strongly recommended that all IT cooling systems using direct evaporative cooling be designed with a minimum of G4/EU4 grade filtration at both the supply and recirculation points.
A range of filtration products up to F7/EU7 grade are available.
“It was never intended that the recommended envelope would be the absolute limits of inlet air temperature and humidity for IT equipment.” – ASHRAE 2011 Guidelines
EcoCooling – Innovators in cooling efficiency
EcoCooling is credited with revolutionising the control systems required to use direct evaporative cooling in IT environments. The R&D department drives to incorporate the latest energy efficient technologies into all product ranges, ensuring our clients have some of the most innovative ventilation and cooling systems in the world. This focus on innovation has also resulted in EcoCooling holding a number of patents for fresh air technologies. For more information on controls options see here.
The benefits of using an EcoCooling system
- Experienced innovators in fresh air solutions and controls
- Free solution consultancy and design assistance
- Modular systems can reduce capital cost
- Advanced control systems
- Patented products and controls
- Internal and external product ranges
- UK manufacturers – Critical spares all ex-stock
- Worldwide remote commissioning service
- Qualify for Salix funding
Internal Product Range (ECT): Compact and Flexible Solutions – The ECT range of coolers are designed to be installed internally. Multiple configuration options allow for air to be supplied either directly, through ductwork or raised floors.
- Single box unit including the control system, supply fan, cooling system and dampers.
- For complete peace of mind, a sophisticated leak detection and alarm system have been incorporated into all of our internal products.
- Humidification: ECT units can be fitted with a humidification option to avoid low relative humidity non-compliance.
External Product Range (ECP): Proven Technology and Results – With over 3000 installations worldwide, the ECP range of coolers can be installed externally or inside a plant room. The standard unit is down-flow, however, top and side discharge configurations are available.
- Units can be placed externally or in a plant room
- Modular Units mean expansion is cost-effective
- Controlled by central touch-screen CREC control system
- Units can be stacked for larger air flow requirements
FreeCooling (ECV): ECV units are designed to be installed internally. They comprise of fresh air free cooling systems with inbuilt filtration, dampers and controls, without the evaporative cooling element.
- Free Cooling units can be used with backup AC
- Uses the same CREC controller as standard CREC systems
- Energy efficient inbuilt EC fans
- Easy installation and maintenance
- Bolt on cooling modules available
See the table below for our full range of evaoprative cooling and free cooling products and associated cooling capacities over different ∆T (Temperature gain in the room due to the IT equipment) = Temperature of Extract Air – Temperature of Supply Air.