In the aftermath of COVID-19, usage of Information Technology has increased exponentially.
Whether it is work, school or even entertainment, our technology consumption has gone up. This translates into an increase in Data Center usage, which is at the heart of all our technology-related developments.
Cloud and Colocation facilities are larger and typically have higher density capacity, which results in electrical demand going up by a factorial of hundreds of megawatts. Increasingly, we are seeing extreme weather conditions, which adds to the complexity of power management.
It is estimated that the total energy consumption of the world is expected to increase by 48 per cent before 2040 as per a report published by US Energy Information Administration(EIA).
Data center energy management is a critical piece; data centers must have the ability to protect against these situations. Regardless of the size of the facilities, energy consumption and related costs are representing a larger portion of a data center company’s operating costs.
Additionally, with commitments made by governments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the Paris Agreement, energy efficiency assumes more significance. In this backdrop, managing energy smartly and efficiently is crucial for this ever-rising hunger for energy.
Role of Energy Management Systems
Energy Management Systems do play a crucial role in the data center industry. “At the heart of it, energy management systems and more specifically a high efficient power system configuration, enable an organisation to move towards a green data center,” said Nils Warburg, Chief Representative (Southeast Asia) from APROVIS.
APROVIS Energy Systems is an equipment provider for emission control equipment and heat recovery solutions for industrial and Data Center applications to reduce carbon emissions by reducing the primary energy consumption.
It collaborates with all Original Equipment Manufacturers of gas engines and vapour absorption machines, bridging those technologies.
Energy management systems also help in accelerating full operation capacity by avoiding long lead time associated with power grid connections. “It could be 2-3 years in several countries in Asia till a sufficient grid connection is available,” points out Warburg.
In the Asia Pacific region, the standard configuration is a connection to the power grid. Many organisations rely on a combination of diesel back-up gensets and battery backup for their backup power requirements. This helps organizations to close the gap between grid availability / electricity supply challenges.
However, relying on diesel back-up gensets has a downside- a significant increase in energy costs. Additionally, there are concerns regarding NOx, SOx and PM emissions, especially in areas with high population density.
Factors at play
In many ways, energy management systems resonate strongly as users see value. For example, APROVIS has a unique value proposition. “We have combined cooling and power from an energy source using the gas engine waste heat to generate electric power and cooling power at the same time for your data center, using vapour absorption machine technology,” states Warburg.
Other benefits include highly flexible natural gas-based on-site power generation with ramp up times below one minute. With the fast-starting capabilities and transient performance when ramping up, ramping down or applying loads, modern gas engines come with additional advantages of lean burn technology, high power density and low exhaust gas emissions.
The electricity grid is used to cover variable and peak loads above the base load.
Additionally, APROVIS’ technologies collaborates with all Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) of gas engines and vapour absorption machines and helps in bridging those technologies.
Using energy management systems can reduce operational costs as well as carbon emissions from lowering the PUE value. “This is achieved by gas engine-based combined cooling and power, which is our state-of-the-art technology,” explains Warburg.
Cost savings could also be achieved due to lower grid connecting size and reduced redundancy requirements in N+1 or N+2 gas engine configuration while utilizing the power grid covering variable and peak loads and battery as backup. This concept is suitable for any Tier-Standard in terms of power availability.
Then there is the advantage of reduced operational costs by lowering the total electric power consumption (see PUE calculation below).
Also, total cost of ownership is reduced by combined cooling and power because dead backup assets are turned into profitable assets. In tropical climatic conditions, there are increasing positive effects of combined cooling and power. Since the electric power and cooling power demand are balanced, it is perfectly suitable for combined cooling and power configurations, said Warburg.
In the cost equation, another factor is costs as a result of externalities. Many countries (e.g. Indonesia) are considering imposing a carbon tax which would also affect data center providers with their intensive energy consumption.
In countries such as Singapore, there is a moratorium on building new data centers, which means new Data Centers have to improve their efficiencies. Countries are also putting in place regulations mandating adherence to local sustainability requirements.
Cost savings could also be achieved due to lower grid connecting size and reduced redundancy requirements in N+1 or N+2 gas engine configuration while utilizing the power grid covering variable and peak loads and battery as backup.
Innovation also comes in the whole push to achieve a Green Data Center. “Currently, renewable energy certificates are not widely available in Asia Pacific, so technical solutions are necessary to achieve the status of a Green Data Center,” points out Warburg.
There are examples of high efficient energy management systems for data centers in Europe as well as in China, using combined cooling and power heat recovery systems- popularly known as CHP systems.
CHP is an energy system which consists of individual components that work together to generate electricity and to produce heat respectively cooling power that can be utilized. These components include the prime mover which drives the system, the generator, heat recovery equipment, and electrical interconnection.
In the final analysis, using high efficient energy management systems is the need of the hour, which goes to cooling equipment, server load, and other computing operations – all of which are vital for proper functioning and preventing costly downtime while combined cooling and power technology is the backbone of a Green Data Center.
To know more, visit APROVIS homepage.