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Eaton-Williams helps Icelandic data centre achieve zero emissions
February 26, 2013

By: Julian Milnes

A claimed ‘world’s first’ zero carbon emissions data centre is using free cooling solution developed by Eaton-Williams.

Working in partnership with Colt, who provided modular data centre facilities, Eaton-Williams has designed and commissioned a unique fresh air free cooling system with no mechanical cooling and no chillers.

The system was designed for Verne Global’s a co-location data centre in Keflavik and constructed using Colt’s established modular data centre design. In addition to being one of the most secure and low risk locations - the site is a former strategic NATO base, located on an 18-hectare (approximately 45-acre) and far from any volcanic activity– artic breezes and the Gulf Stream push any volcanic effects towards Western Europe.

The facility benefits from Iceland’s unique climatic conditions that from an energy perspective include very impressive renewable power sources.

By harnessing natural resources, Iceland generates power from hydro and geothermal sources, which is very attractive to businesses looking to maximise their green credentials.

The climate ranges from around freezing to 56 deg F (13.3 deg C). The average lows and average highs range from around freezing to 14-deg-C.

“The temperate climate of Iceland provides a great opportunity for 100% free cooling, without the need for chillers or compressors and cuts the amount of electricity required to cool the data centre which has financial and environmental implications”, says Jeff Monroe, CEO Verne Global.

Colt supplied the fully operational facility in under four months and Eaton-Williams designed the HVAC system for theTier-3 (2N UPS for critical systems) data centre, which provides more than 23000m² of technical space and offering a range of density options, from 4kW to 16+kW racks, with connectivity options that include VPN, MPLS and GigE and connected via subsea fibre lines to Europe and the U.S.

The location eliminates the need for refrigeration systems that can account for over 50 per cent of a data centre’s power usage and which could have a significant impact on carbon footprints and PUEs (power usage effectiveness). The benefits are financial as well as environmental.

Designing a robust and efficient cooling system that took into account coastal conditions and met Verne Global’s environmental commitments was not unusual for the Eaton-Williams engineering team.

Their solution incorporated complex algorithms and exploited natural resources to provide the correct levels of cooling without using DX. Jeff Muir, Eaton-Williams Engineering Manager comments: “It was a mammoth task that involved taking full advantage of the ambient air conditions and designing in the required parameters.”

The result was an N+1 HVAC air conditioning based around 12 ‘CTF’ cooling modules, based on systems previously designed for Colt’s own modular data centre in North London. The units were customised further with primary cooling being supplied by direct free cooling from the outside air. Each unit has multiple variable speed Electronically Commutated (EC) fans to precisely match to the cooling demand to minimise energy use and provide N+1resilience.

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