Major Flywheel Order for Search Engine

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Active Power (ACPW) said today that it had received a large order from a “leading Internet search engine provider” for its flywheel-based uninterruptible power systems (UPS).The order for 16 megawatts of flywheel backup power was the largest single order in the company’s history, topping a 12 megawatt order (also from a leading search engine) in 2008. The flywheels will be deployed at one of the customer’s data center facilities in the United States in early 2010.

“Many of the industry’s largest service providers are choosing to deploy highly energy and space efficient flywheel UPS systems from Active Power to protect their datacenter operations,” said Jim Clishem, president and CEO, Active Power. “The substantial size of this deployment from a repeat customer demonstrates confidence in our solutions and validates our value proposition for mission critical clients.”

A flywheel is a spinning cylinder which generates power from kinetic energy, and continues to spin when grid power is interrupted. In most data centers, the UPS system draws power from a bank of large batteries to provide “ride-through” electricity to keep servers online until the diesel generator can start up and begin powering the facility.

So which search engine is the customer? Active Power won’t comment on the customer’s identity. Google uses a distributed UPS system featuring on-board batteries on each server, rather than a centralized UPS system. Microsoft is using a traditional battery UPS in its newest data centers. That leaves Yahoo – which is currently building a new data center near Buffalo, N.Y. – as the leading suspect

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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