Today’s data centre managers are facing increased financial and regulatory pressure to improve the efficiency of their data centres. For the South African climate, an indirect evaporative cooling system with air-to-air heat exchange is the most effective way to achieve an efficient data centre, without exposing the IT space to outside air contaminants and varying moisture conditions.
Schneider Electric has therefore launched EcoBreeze in South Africa, a product that addresses the needs of data centres by implementing multiple forms of economisation into each module to reduce the cooling costs in an organisation.
The unit, located outside the perimeter of the data centre, takes advantage of localised climates and can automatically switch between two forms of cooling:
1. Air-to-air heat exchange – brings hot IT air in from the data centre through the module’s electronically commutated fans, which is then passed through internal channels of the IEC (Indirect Evaporative Cooler). After the IT air is cooled it leaves the IEC and is returned to the data centre.
2. Indirect evaporative heat exchange – when ambient temperatures can’t support an air-to-air heat exchange, cooling is done through indirect evaporative cooling, which removes heat from the IT air by evaporating water on the outside of the heat exchanger channels. The system prevents outside air from coming in contact with the data centre air, regardless of which cooling mode is used and it is equipped with a proportional R410a refrigerant system as well as onboard water treatment to eliminate the need for additional chemical dosing.
Both of the cooling strategies employed by the EcoBreeze maximise localised climate conditions to ensure the most efficient and effective form of cooling throughout the year.
According to Eben Owen, enterprise and solutions manager for South Africa at Schneider Electric, these features address the environmental concerns associated with some refrigerant or water based systems. “Both of the economisation cooling strategies employed by the EcoBreeze maximise localised climate conditions to ensure the most efficient and effective form of cooling throughout the year,” he says. “In certain climates, some economiser modes can save over 70 percent in annual cooling system energy costs, corresponding to over 15% reduction in annualised power usage effectiveness (PUE). In South Africa, EcoBreeze has the ability to provide up to 90% annualised free cooling due to the country’s climate.”
The EcoBreeze is available in individual 50 kW modules that can be grouped up to four (200 kW) or eight modules (400 kW) of sensible cooling. This modular, scalable approach enables customers to purchase only what they need to meet their current cooling requirements, while giving them the ability to increase their cooling capacity at any time as their data centre grows. This modularity also provides redundancy at the frame level and ensures availability of the system even through maintenance and service intervals. Power, water, airflow distribution and communication connections are centralised to the frame simplifying installation requirements.
Additionally, as the unit is located outside the perimeter of the data centre or the roof top, the EcoBreeze takes up zero whitespace, enabling IT managers to utilise space in the data centre to increase its capacity without having to allot for space to include additional cooling units.
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