Sea Water Cooling Slashes Data Centre Energy Costs
Interxion, a European operator of data centres, has cut its Stockholm data centre energy bills by one million dollars through a number of measures, but primarily by using remote sea water cooling. The Stockholm data centre was opened in January 2009 and at the time was one of the first data centres to use seawater cooling systems.
The Stockholm data centre, Interxion claims, now operates at an exceptionally low and constant PUE, is not subject to PUE fluctuations caused by an increase in energy to power the chillers during a hot summer and uses 100 per cent renewable energy. They also use continuous monitoring of their environments that helps to improve efficiency as well as employing a phased modular architecture to optimise power usage effectiveness.
The company highlights their use of sustainable energy such as free cooling, ground water cooling and waste heat re-use at their centres, but they claim it is never at the expense of reliability and availability. Many of their centres, such as Copenhagen, London and Amsterdam use 100 percent renewable energy.
But it is the use of seawater for cooling that Inerxion claim has the biggest impact on reducing energy costs, giving them a reduction of 80 percent.
In Stockholm, water enters the first facility at six degrees Celsius and exits at 12 degrees, according to an IDG report. The water is then pumped to a second site, which it leaves at 18 degrees, and then a third which it leaves at 24 degrees. And finally the water is then sent to a heat pump and used to heat local homes and offices.
“Before Interxion started the project,” the IDG report continues, “its energy bills were about US$2.6 million a year to cool 1 megawatt of IT load. Today, its energy bill is $1 million to cool 1 megawatt of IT load, meaning the system has saved it about $1.6 million a year per megawatt.”
Seawater is an attractive option for cooling data centres. Among others, the Mauritius Eco-Park project has promoted this option aiming to exploit the position of the island on the path of a deep sea current. And Google has also used sea water to cool its data centre in Finland.
However there are other costs to consider for locating a data centre close to sea water. Costs can be high in sourcing land, and the infrastructure required may also be more expensive. Plus contingency plans need to be available if the pumps pumping sea water fail.
Australia as an Island continent with a high percentage of its population by the coast seems like a perfect candidate to employ this technology to drive efficiency.
Niall Coulter, Managing Director, has many years of experience and expertise in the Data Center environment. Responsible for helping IDC Solutions to develop clever cost effective products. Niall is able to consult on all areas of Data Center management including power monitoring, efficient airflow control, continuous improvement practices.
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