Learn to Save Water or Your Data Center May Tank
757 million liters. That’s about 2,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools–all full of crystal-clear, cool water. That’s how much freshwater a typical large, cloud data center complex with cooling towers used on average in 2017, even though fresh water is a dwindling and limited resource worldwide, especially in hot, dry areas of the globe. Clearly, data centers have a conservation challenge ahead of them.
Now, I’m sure you have heard the adage ‘necessity is the mother of invention’. So, it should come as no surprise that the industry has attempted to tackle this issue in a variety of ways – but unfortunately without much success – yet. Many of the solutions in recent years have certainly improved energy efficiency, but water usage remains high. Open cell towers are still way too common–place for an industry that knows it has a water problem.
And because Data Centers have this drinking problem, it is imperative the industry finds the most efficient and cost-effective solution regarding water usage – without sacrificing reliability. In short, low-water to no-water data centers are becoming a necessity for the market.
Data Centers Wow Clients with Low WUEs
First, what’s a WUE and why should you care? WUE stands for Water Usage Efficiency and it is just as important as the better known PUE (Power Efficiency Usage). The Green Grid Data Center Maturity Model (DCMM) sets standards for sustainability in several key areas including power, computing, storage, network, and yes water. They rate efficiency maturity levels on a scale from 1-5. If you are a 5, you can stop reading now…you have reached maximum efficiency. All others, keep reading.
Efficiency recommendations could include hot-aisle or cold-aisle containment to improve airflow management and reduce cooling loads, increasing the cold-aisle temperature set points, installing some form of economization to the cooling system, implementing data-center-wide monitoring and controls, conducting an energy efficiency audit, identifying and removing comatose/orphan/unused servers, and upgrading to higher-efficiency servers.
All of these strategies translate into utility bill and operational savings that also conserve overall natural resources, such as the water used onsite for cooling, or the water used to generate the electricity which runs the data centers.
The Aligned Energy Solution: “Free Cooling”
Aligned Energy’s cooling system offers a unique take on the chiller/forced-air approach to data center cooling that results in an all-around more efficient and sustainable solution.
Using a patented heat sink design that is closely coupled to the server racks, Aligned Energy has been able to not only capture the heat generated by the servers more efficiently, but transport and reject it to the atmosphere using dramatically less energy and resources than the traditional CRAH systems.
The specially designed heat sinks, coupled with the use of hot aisle containment and an advanced volumetric air flow control strategy, enable Aligned Energy to capture the heat at the source in a highly efficient manner. This solution trifecta results in a considerably lower airside static pressure drop, while minimizing bypass and maximizing the Delta T across the heat sink, which allows for dramatically less fan power and significantly higher return water temperatures.