$5M in New Orders for PowerHouse Containers


The PowerHouse container from Active Power includes power and cooling infrastructure to support data center containers packed with servers.

A number of players in the data center container business have predicted that the new “form factor” would catch on among companies that have run out of space, power or cooling. We’re beginning to see more signs of this, including today’s announcement that Active Power (ACPW) has sold three of its PowerHouse systems to support container-based expansions of brick-and-mortar data centers. The deals are valued at about $5 million, according to Active Power.

The PowerHouse packages a flywheel UPS, switchgear, a diesel generator and fuel tanks in a shipping container, and is designed to provide portable power infrastructure to support a data center container packed with servers. Active Power, which specializes in flywheel technology, has partnered with data center container vendors including Sun Microsystems (the Sun MD20 “Blackbox”) and HP (Performance Optimized Datacenter or POD).

The systems will ships this year to “several U.S. locations,” and the sales were made through Active Power’s containerized datacenter partners.

Short-Term Capacity Solution
Companies running short of data center capacity are considering these “data center in a box” products as a way to expand their IT operations until they can build or lease new data centers. The credit crunch has intensified the focus on short-term capacity solutions.

“We are helping these two customers do more with less with this infrastructure containerization approach,” said Jim Clishem, president and CEO, Active Power. “We are able to support the customer’s expanding data center capacity while reducing capital expenditures by as much as 25 percent and operating expenses by as much as 60 percent – as compared to using a conventional brick-and-mortar approach.”

One containerized PowerHouse system is rated at 240 kW and will include a standby generator, Active Power’s CleanSource 300 kVA UPS, a generator starting module, switchgear and chiller. The other two containerized systems are each rated at 480 kW and will include a standby generator, a CleanSource 600 kVA UPS, a generator starting module, switchgear and chiller.

A flywheel is a spinning cylinder that generates power from kinetic energy, continuing to spin when grid power is interrupted. See our video demonstration of how a flywheel works). Active Power has shipped more than 1,700 flywheels in UPS systems since it was founded in 1992.

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About the Author

Rich Miller is the founder and editor at large of Data Center Knowledge, and has been reporting on the data center sector since 2000. He has tracked the growing impact of high-density computing on the power and cooling of data centers, and the resulting push for improved energy efficiency in these facilities.

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