Iceland Data Center Reduces Energy Costs with Free Cooling System

July 8, 2014 By Karen Henry

Keflavik-energy-manageAfter two years of operation, the world’s first 100 percent renewably powered data center has achieved more than 80 percent savings in electrical energy costs, thanks to the free cooling system based on technology from Eaton-Williams, an affiliate of CES.

The Verne Global data center in Keflavik, Iceland, has a free cooling system that takes advantage of the moderate Icelandic climate and taps into the island’s vast geothermal and hydroelectric resources to help enable the world’s first zero-carbon data center facility. Working in partnership with Colt Data Center Services, the Eaton-Williams team customized a modular data center hall design with free cooling. This free cooling system brings in cool outdoor air and circulates only that natural air in the data center’s server rooms, eliminating the need for mechanical cooling and the energy costs associated with it.

The system developed for Verne Global is an N+1 cooling system with primary cooling being supplied by direct free cooling from the outside air. Each unit has multiple variable speed electronically commutated fans to match airflow to the cooling demand in order to further reduce energy use and provide N+1 resilience.

The system and its controls help ensure that temperature levels in the data center are maintained at 64.4 to 80.6 degrees Fahrenheit with humidity between 30 and 70 percent. Secondary cooling is via indirect free air with a glycol heat exchanger. The cooling system efficiency contributes to the data center’s overall power usage effectiveness, which has been tested to 1.21.

Photograph of Keflavik by Marek Ślusarczyk.

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