Data Centers

Free-cooling systems for datacenters

The free cooling system installed on the CTTC-UPC, has the function of cooling the cluster with an intelligent combination of air conditioning systems and outdoor air. In this sense, the system is controlled by a PLC, which is continually comparing indoor and outdoor environmental conditions with the set-point values entered by the user.

Fig. 1: CTTC-UPC data center lay-out; cold chamber where the air crossing the fan-coils is discharged.
Fig. 2: CTTC-UPC data center lay-out; hot isle in the chamber downstream the computing racks

The system is equipped with various humidity and temperature sensors which help us to obtain the main parameters to be controlled for the proper functioning of the computers, which are air temperature, relative humidity and dew point.
When the system is cooling in the conventional method, the hot air expelled from the cluster, is aspirated by the air conditioning system, and finally driven to the room.

Fig.3 -4 : Cooling system working in conventional mode(left) and free-cooling mode (right)

On the other hand, if environmental conditions are favorable, the system is put in free cooling mode. In this case, the hot air is evacuated to the outside environment, and at the same time, it blows air from outside inside the data-center, thus reaching a temperature in the room with a minimum electric power investment.
 

Simulation capabilities

The CTTC is well-known as a reference center for CFD research, mainly on turbulence and numerical methods. However, it is also devoted to an applied research line where one of its topics of interest is the flow within conditioned/refrigerated chambers, obviously related with the efficient energy management in buildings and data-centers.

Within a research project on refrigerated chambers, the Group has carried out simulations that perfectly reproduce the complexities inherent in the simulation of airflow movement in data-centers. In this sense, we can state that the singular combination of this infrastructure and the computational studies has derived in a reference tool for the development of smart data-center conditioning design strategies

Fig.5 -6: CFD simulations in a refrigerated chamber, considering the air-cooler and the product/shelves.