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Adiabatic Cooling Applications: Data Centers


By NIMBUS Advanced Process Cooling

The demand for data access, storage, and consumption increases every day. Data Center Knowledge projects the construction of new data centers to increase more than five times over in the next three years. Of the existing data centers included in the Data Center Knowledge report, 48 percent reported their current data centers to be between 5,000 and 50,000 sq. ft., and around 50 percent said their data centers will be between 5,000 and 50,000 sq. ft. in the next year. An additional 16 percent reported their current data centers to be between 100,000 and 500,000 sq. ft., and 26 percent projected their data centers would be between 100,000 and 500,000 sq. ft. in three years. Innovative, reliable, economical, and advanced cooling systems and processes are required to address not only the capacity demands associated with the rapid construction of large data center campuses and growth of current data centers, but the mission critical nature of the data center industry as well.

Cooling accounts for up to 20 percent of a data center’s energy consumption andif the data center uses water in its cooling processup to 95 percent of its water consumption.  To help reduce energy and water consumption, data center engineers work to identify different cooling techniques and technologies to reduce the power and water consumption, such as increasing the air temperature inside   the data center (sometimes beyond the ASHRAE-recommended 80.6°F supply air temperature), using more efficient servers, and using innovative cooling solutions.

Traditional evaporative cooling systems (closed cooling towers, direct and indirect evaporative cooling air handling units (AHUs)) typically consume less energy than traditional dry air cooling systems at the cost of adding water consumption. Due to continued growth, the application of evaporative cooling in data centers has rapidly increased during the past five years, and large data center campuses, such as Amazon, Facebook, and Google, have come to rely on evaporative cooling solutions.

However, with fresh water shortages plaguing much of the United States, the overall reduction of water consumption is a major initiative for data centers and other facilities. As a result, building and business owners are in the position of needing cooling systems capable of handling increasing heat loads, while consuming as little water as possible.

NIMBUS® Advanced Process Cooling set out to help businesses BE BLUE by developing a cooling solution to overcome two of the largest challenges presented by traditional evaporative cooling towers–water consumption and the growth and spread of Legionella bacteria–without significantly increasing energy consumption.  

From its research, development, and manufacturing facility in Alabama, U.S.A., the NIMBUS engineering team designed and developed its VIRGA III® and VIRGA X3™ Hybrid Adiabatic Cooling Systems to deliver an efficient process fluid (water, water-glycol mix, or other approved fluid as specified by NIMBUS) cooling solution.

The majority of the time VIRGA systems operate in dry mode (operating on the same principle as a traditional dry air cooler would). However, on the hottest days of the year, when process fluid temperatures cannot be reached with ambient air alone, a fine water spray is activated to precool the air as it enters the cooling system. This direct hybrid approach reduces water consumption by up to 95 percent when compared to traditional open cooling towers, and up to 70 percent compared to hybrid fluid coolers reliant on conventional evaporative media pads to meet heat rejection requirements.

As an example: when operating in wet mode, a six-fan VIRGA X3 system (approximately 99”W x 105”H x 350”L) can provide up to 500 tons of cooling (depending on operating conditions) while consuming less than six gallons per minute (GPM) of water. By contrast, a media- type evaporative fluid cooling system sized for the same application can consume over 20 GPM of water.

VIRGA hybrid adiabatic systems may be connected directly to cold plates or coolant distribution units (CDU) for liquid cooling and/or high density cooling. VIRGA systems may also be connected to fan coil units to deliver the required heat rejection, while minimizing water and energy consumption for your facility.

NIMBUS Advanced Process Cooling is ready to provide a custom-engineered cooling solution to support your expanding data center. Contact NIMBUS at 844.NIMBUS.3 today!

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