17 February 2017

5 applications for reducing energy costs in data centres with EC Technology

With demands for more processing power and storage; energy consumption and CO2 levels are set to grow within Data Centers. Here's 5 ways to reduce yours.

Data centres are a key contributor to Co2 emissions. Due to the continued demand for increased data processing power and information storage, the energy consumption and Co2 emissions resulting from data centres is set to grow.

In a recent report published by the European Commission, the total energy consumption including infrastructure (i.e. due to the cooling demand) amounts to 105 TWh in 2015. It predicts that if no specific measures are taken, the annual energy consumption including infrastructure is predicted to be 122 TWh by 2030.

On average, around 50% of all electrical energy consumed in a data centre is for cooling. This may be due to the fact that some legacy data centres often have inefficient cooling equipment; typically CRAC units (Computer Room Air Conditioning Units). These tend to be belt driven forward curved AC fans, running at a fixed speed.

Constantly increasing data volumes require more cooling capacity, so efficient cooling concepts could provide enormous energy savings.

A number of options are available to achieve energy savings; depending upon the structural conditions, the climate conditions and the technology used in a data centre.

Inefficient CRAC units can be upgraded by replacing the original AC fans with high efficiency backward curved EC* fans. In addition to having a more efficient motor, EC fans also offer the opportunity for simple speed control, which could provide additional energy savings. Recent upgrade projects on a number of CRAC units have shown that energy savings in excess of 50% can be achieved, simply by replacing the AC fans with EC fans. Additional savings of a further 10 - 20% can easily be achieved by reducing the fan speed.

With ebm-papst GreenTech EC fans, the impeller, motor and electronics form a compact unit that is far superior to conventional AC solutions.

Typical payback periods are 18-24 months but depending on the operating hours of the equipment and how efficient the existing system is, paybacks within 12 months have been achieved.

3 key factors which are considered include: cooling an entire area using precision air-conditioning units, row or rack cooling and cooling of the entire data centre using a central fan unit. For all of these methods, ebm-papst provides unique and highly efficient fan solutions.

Example applications for ebm-papst EC technology include:

1) Precision air-conditioning (CRAC / CRAH) units

•AC direct drive and belt drive fans can typically be replaced by EC backward curved solutions: RadiCal or RadiPac.

•Fans can be fitted into the floor void to maximise efficiency or in the unit, depending on available space.

•With chilled water units, fans can be controlled with a simple 0-1Ov or ModBus input to optimise airflow and reduce power further. Reducing to 1/2 speed equates to roughly 1/8 power consumption. Previous run and standby systems could be run at reduced flow instead, giving a better distribution of air.

2) Chillers

•AC axial impellers can be replaced by EC axials from our AxiBlade, or HyBlade range with minimal alterations to the unit.

•Fans can be controlled by 0-10v or ModBus to run all fans together rather than in banks.

•System improvements may also be possible to reduce noise and air recirculation in difficult applications.

3) Condensers / Dry Coolers

•Replacing AC axials with EC AxiBlade or HyBlacle can offer higher airflows in the same footprint maximising overall efficiency of the unit.

•Fans can be controlled by 0-1Ov, ModBus or direct from a sensor to nm all fans together rather than in banks.

4) Air Handling Units (AHU's)

•AC belt drive or direct drive blowers can be replaced by either EC blowers (RadiFit) or with EC plug fans (RadiPac).

•EC fans offer a compact solution and can be combined as a multi fan solution (FanGrid) to give optimum efficiency within the unit and added redundancy.

5) Free cooling

•Using fresh air solutions, either direct or indirectly into the data centre, relies on precision control of the supply and exhaust fans. EC fans with infinite speed control and no need for any external inverter drives offer a compact modular solution, in a variety of impeller types. With motor sizes up to l2kW there is a solution to suit your every need.

*What is EC technology?

EC stands for Electronic Commutation: EC motors are essentially brushless DC motors powered by AC mains. EC fans use permanent magnet motors, running on high voltage direct current (DC) electricity, with built in AC to DC conversion, allowing them to run direct from single phase or three phase mains supplies. This means that ebm-papst EC gives you high performance, speed control and long life expectancy in a product which is the same size as the old, power hungry AC products it replaces.

Interested in finding out more?

View our new EC upgrade page for further information.

To enquire about a free site survey in order to understand more about upgrading your HVAC estate please fill out our Site Survey Enquiry Form.

To view the original version of this article on Linkedin, click here.

Luke Tanner
Marketing Co-Ordinater