Energy efficient approach to data centre cooling

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Energy management and automation company Schneider Electric has introduced the Ecoflair Indirect Air Economizer cooling solution, which uses a proprietary polymer heat exchanger technology to provide a cost-effective, energy efficient approach to data centre cooling.

Ecoflair addresses the persistent challenge of maintaining optimum operating temperatures in data centres while keeping energy consumption to a minimum. The new system can reduce operating costs by over 60 per cent compared to legacy cooling approaches. This allows a greater proportion of data centre energy to be available for powering IT equipment, improving facility Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE). In addition, the design removes cooling equipment from the data centre floor freeing up valuable white space.

"Modularity together with a proprietary polymer heat exchanger are key to the success of Ecoflair," said John Nieman, Director of Product Management, Cooling Solutions at Schneider Electric. "Its tubular design prevents fouling that commonly happens with plate style heat exchangers. This minimises maintenance and impact to performance over the life of the heat exchanger. In addition, the polymer is corrosion-proof compared to other designs that use coated aluminium which corrodes when wet or exposed to the outdoor elements. The heat exchanger is also modular making it easily replaced, should it be required, minimising downtime and inconvenience."

Customised cooling

Available in 250kW and 500kW modules, Ecoflair is designed to be flexible and offer greater customisation according to the cooling requirement and local conditions, simplified installation and associated expenses, and increased serviceability together with lowered maintenance costs. This scalable approach makes Ecoflair particularly suited for co-location facilities rated between 1MW and 5MW (250kW modules) and large hyperscale or cloud data centres rated up to 40MW (500kW modules). The modularity also allows the cooling to grow at the same rate as power upgrades, according to the needs of the data centre as IT loads expand.

Indirect air economisation can be deployed regardless of most environmental or climactic conditions pertaining to the data centre's location — Schneider Electric says the technology is typically suitable for at least 80 per cent of all global locations.

The increased efficiency of these units can allow the customer a couple of options with the energy savings:

  • Increase the IT load with the same electrical infrastructure. In studies Schneider Electric has done that increase could be as much as 30 per cent more IT with the same electrical infrastructure when compared to typical cooling topologies like Chilled water or DX based
  • Reduction in overall CAPEX due to a smaller electrical infrastructure needed from a smaller electrical distribution and back-up power requirements. Schneider Electric indicates the CAPEX savings can be as much as six per cent when using the Ecoflair product



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