Schneider Electric cuts data centre cooling costs

The 500w Ecoflair unit. (Image: Schneider Electric)



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15 March 2017 | 0

The cost of cooling has long been a major issue for data centre operation. As demand for data centre capacity grows inexorably, cool cost is becoming a greater issue.

Data centre infrastructure specialist Schneider Electric has addressed this issue with an innovative new range of indirect air economiser units, Ecoflair.

The new equipment uses a proprietary polymer heat exchanger technology to provide a cost-effective, energy efficient approach to data centre cooling.

According to the maker, 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% compared to legacy cooling approaches, says Schneider, which allows a greater proportion of data centre energy to be available for powering IT equipment, improving facility Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE). Furthermore, the design removes cooling equipment from the data centre floor freeing up valuable white space.

The reduction in overall CapEx is due to a smaller electrical infrastructure needed from a smaller electrical distribution and back-up power requirements. Schneider indicates the CapEx savings can be as much as 6% when using Ecoflair.

“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.”

The economisers are available in 250kW and 500kW modules that are designed to be flexible, accommodating greater customisation to meet cooling requirements and local conditions, while providing simplified installation and reduced associated costs, and increased serviceability together with lowered maintenance costs.

The scalable approach makes Ecoflair particularly suited for colocation facilities rated between 1 and 5MW (250kW modules) and large hyperscale or cloud data centres rated up to 40MW (500kW modules), says the maker. 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 — the technology is typically suitable for at least 80% of all global locations, says Schneider. Such adaptability helps data centre owners to standardise the cooling architecture of their facilities around the world providing repeatable designs that speed deployment and reduce operational and maintenance costs.

Schneider said that a 1MW data centre based in London and using a traditional efficient chilled-water cooling system would operate at a PUE of 1.14 whereas the same facility using an Ecoflair system would reduce PUE to 1.039. This not only results in annual financial savings of €88,000, but also greater efficiency and reduced carbon emissions which are increasingly important in today’s environmentally conscious world.


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