ABB Teams With IO on DC-Powered Modules

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The interior of an IO data center module. ABB will work with IO to develop a DC-powered module.

ABB continues to invest in direct current (DC)  power technology, which offers the potential for simplifying power distribution systems in data centers. Today ABB said it is partnering with IO on the development of a new data center module based on direct current (DC) power. The module is expected to be  completed by the end of the year.

ABB recently announced it will design a DC-power distribution system for green.ch, one of the top IT service providers in Switzerland. In May, ABB gained a controlling interest in Validus DC Systems, which specializes in DC power infrastructure for data centers.

“ABB has a long heritage in DC-powered technologies since pioneering high-voltage direct current (HVDC) transmission in the 1950s,” said Tarak Mehta, head of ABB’s Low Voltage Products division. “We are pursuing the further development of DC power in many contemporary applications such as electric vehicle charging, renewable energy, energy storage and data centers where substantial economic and environmental benefits can be realized.”

Advocates of DC power distribution say it offers greater energy efficiency, citing the loss of power through multiple AC/DC conversions to charge UPS batteries. Some data center professionals remain and vendors argue that high-voltage AC configurations offer similar advantages to DC power distribution.

A DC-powered modular data center offers the ability to commit to use DC power in a phased expansion. It may also offer an easier entry point for end users that are interested in DC power, but aren’t ready to retrofit existing sites or commit to DC on a large-scale greenfield build. IT

The DC-powered module will be manufactured by IO using the IO Anywhere standards-based hardware and software architecture.

“The data center has always been DC powered; every device in the data center uses DC power inside,” said George Slessman, CEO of IO. “By leveraging the intelligent control of IO OS and IO’s modular data center platform, we can now deliver the entire data center from the source on DC power, while providing flexibility to deliver AC power where and when needed.”

About the Author

Rich Miller is the founder and editor-in-chief 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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