Could Datacenters Go Natural?
As organizations continue to research cheaper and more efficient ways to power and cool their datacenters, TeraCool has hit on a method that could achieve both for free. The organization is proposing that datacenters be located near natural gas plants, which could provide a center’s cooling and power for nothing.
The natural gas centers are able to cool and power datacenters for free because the energy used in the process is generated by waste. Usually natural gas is liquefied at the place where it was extracted from the ground and then is transported to liquid natural gas plants. When that gas is needed, it’s vaporized for circulation in the gas supply network. Upon vaporization, energy is released, along with low temperatures, which go to waste because most plants aren’t close enough to populated areas that could use it.
The organization is pitching their idea to European investors, claiming that natural gas storage plants produce excess refrigeration and waste enough energy to run a datacenter.
It’s a fairly audacious idea, which is probably why the plan won the Audacious Idea Prize in the 2013 Green Enterprise IT Awards. The other awards went to actual datacenters, most of which featured liquid cooling.
“We think there is a tremendous opportunity,” Bob Shatten, president of TeraCool, told TechWeekEurope. “We have had interest from some LNG terminals – now we need to get the datacenter world to step outside of the box and align their interests at one of these locations.”
TeraCool’s idea is really a symbiotic relationship. The heat from the datacenter’s servers can help vaporize the liquid natural gas and the energy released can in turn power the datacenter. According to the Institute’s citation, an additional refrigeration loop is added to the circuit in which the refrigerant is pressurized, warm and vaporized. When the refrigerant expands, it drives a turbine that is couple to a generator to produce electricity in a process both combustion and emissions free.
Datacenters that take advantage of TeraCool’s plan can be advantageous for companies looking to build in warmer countries, like Spain or Portugal.
Read the full article here: http://www.techweekeurope.co.uk/news/data-centre-gas-power-prize-112683