As fresh air cooling (economization) gains traction as an energy efficiency strategy, cooling vendors are incorporating it into their products. A new cooling system from APC by Schneider Electric allows data center operators to easily switch between several modes of free cooling. The EcoBreeze system, which made its debut last month in London, can automatically switch between air-to-air and indirect evaporative heat exchange. At the Gartner Data Center Conference, APC by Schneider's Joe Capes provided a detailed overview of EcoBreeze and how it works. This video runs about 8 minutes.
The EcoBreeze is available in individual 50kw modules that can be grouped up to four modules (200kw) or eight modules (400kw) of sensible cooling. This modular, scalable approach enables customers to purchase only what they need to meet their current cooling requirements while giving them the ability to increase their cooling capacity at any time as their data center grows.
The EcoBreeze unit is desigend to live outside the data center and can automatically switch between two forms of economized cooling;
- Air-to-air heat exchange - Brings in hot IT air in from the data center through the modules EC (Electronically Commutated) fans which is then passed through internal channels of the Indirect Evaporative Cooler (IEC). After the IT air is cooled it leaves the IEC and passes through a cooling coil and returned to the data center.
- Indirect evaporative heat exchange - When ambient temperatures can’t support a air-to-air heat exchange cooling is done through indirect evaporative cooling which removes heat from the IT air by evaporating water on the outside of the heat exchanger channels. The EcoBreeze prevents the outside air from coming in contact with the data center air, regardless of which cooling mode is used (air-to air or indirect evaporative).
The EcoBreeze has a proportional R410a refrigerant system as well as an onboard water treatment system which eliminates the need for chemical water treatment. This feature addresses environmental concerns associated with some refrigerant or water based systems. Both of the economization cooling strategies employed by the EcoBreeze maximize localized climate conditions to ensure the most efficient and effective form of cooling throughout the year.
"The EcoBreeze not only provides multiple types of air economization, but its modular design allows the unit to adapt to the future cooling needs of the data center," said Pat Johnson, vice president, Rack and Cooling Solutions, APC.
Here's APC's vision of a data center with EcoBreeze units installed: