New opportunities in green data centers
WORLD – Investments in green data centers are continuing to grow as government agencies, banks and large companies seek solutions for storing the increasing amount of valuable data. Recent figures released show that the market is expected to grow at an annual rate of more than 27%. Apple is the latest company to announce their intention to invest €1.7 billion in two green data centers in Europe.
Energy efficiency is one of the most important factors in reducing costs and CO2 emissions in an industry, which, today, already accounts for 2% of all electricity generated worldwide. Data centers contain servers, storage devices, cables, internet connections, and a large amount of other equipment used to supply power and cooling. The cost of supplying this power represents 20-60% of the operating expenses incurred over the life of a data center, and a significant part of this cost is consumed in removing heat to keep data safe at the right temperature and humidity. However, efficient cooling solutions can cut energy consumption dramatically.
One of the companies involved in providing these efficient cooling solutions is Danfoss and Jürgen Fischer, President of Danfoss Cooling Segment, says: “Government agencies, banks and large companies need to ensure stabile systems around the clock, which makes reliability and energy efficiency key priorities. Our cooling technologies can help them achieve this. Therefore, we hold a strong position in the data center industry, where we are currently experiencing more than 10% growth per year.”
In Europe Danfoss is currently cooperating with a number of UK-based climate solutions providers to deliver cooling units with variable speed compressors for data center applications. These cooling units have enabled the data centre owners to save around 30% on energy use annually.
In the United States, the IT infrastructure company Inertech is one of the companies using this new technoloy. Inertech provides innovative energy solutions for data centres, using a free cooling cycle and making it possible to reduce cooling energy consumption by up to 90% and water usage by up to 80%, depending on local conditions. Variable speed compressors and drives are used alongside the cycle to ensure the right temperature at any given time and also to save energy. A customer who currently spends $20 million annually can reduce their energy costs to just 2 million using the Inertech solution.
Further improvements in energy efficiency for data centers can also be made in terms of heating. One solution is to feed the huge amount of surplus heat generated in data centres into existing district heating networks – which is what Apple plans to do in their new data center in Viborg, Denmark. This solution has huge possibilities and there is massive potential in utilizing surplus heat from the industry to heat homes.