The role of batteries in optimising a data center for water and energy consumption

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The role of batteries in optimising a data center for water and energy consumption

As most data center managers will be aware, consumption of water and energy in data centers is always on the rise. And with an increase in artificial intelligence and IoT (the Internet of Things) – both of them very power-hungry – it’s going to continue to increase.

Something else that’s increasing is the cost of water. In 2016, GMI reports, about $8 billion was spent worldwide on data center cooling. By 2024, that number is expected to reach $20 billion. Data centers use a lot of water, particularly on evaporation and blow-down losses. These are by-products of common cooling methods, and with increasing concern around how finite the resource is, data centers need to do their part in using water as efficiently as possible.

Getting the most out of your data center means managing the amount of energy that goes into running it. Applying a strategy to energy management means you'll see a reduction in power costs and an increase in efficiency.

As a data center manager, you’ll always be looking for ways to get the most out of your servers. If any of them are running at less than 50% utilisation, that's a big waste of energy right there. Think of ways you can increase the usage rates; you'll not only improve your energy metrics for the server, but across the whole data center.

Float charging – also known as trickle charging – involves a constant voltage charge that maintains the battery in fully charged condition, while minimising water consumption.

When it comes to battery management, it’s also important to remember that the temperature of the battery room needs to be in line with the optimal range of your batteries. Some run best at 20C, others at 25. If you’re trying to save on air conditioning costs, and you allow your batteries to get too hot, you’re not only shortening their life span, but you could void the warranty, leading to an unexpected expense. That’s made what you’ve saved on AC a false economy. Keeping your batteries at their optimal temperature will maximise their life spn.

Just as important is checking the temperature in your data center. If the air conditioning is around 20 °C, it's too cool. Around the mid-20s is optimal; the less cooling required, the less energy you're using.

It’s similar for water cooling.  Water conducts heat far better than air, meaning it's more efficient as a cooling medium. Newer systems, based on negative pressure water systems, have extremely low failure rates and can dramatically lower cooling, leading to a reduction in energy costs.

These are the fundamental, critical areas to focus on, but there are others you can employ to optimise your energy consumption:

  • Energy distribution systems - try to keep it as "flat" as possible. You do this by moving substation AC voltages through data centre AC and DC voltages as fast as possible and route from there.
  • Optimise the chilled water setpoint - this involves calculating it so it matches what your data center requires. It's more efficient than fixing it at one point, because then it runs too warm or too cold depending on the time of year.

PowerShield8 is designed to support achieving maximum efficiency in your data center. To find out more about how it can optimise the use of water and energy in your data center, get in touch for a chat.

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