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Evaporative cooling to drive down data centre energy usage

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Carel, technology sponsor of DatacenterDynamics Converged conference at ICC ExCel London in November, exhibited its impressive range of energy efficient environmental control and monitoring solutions.

Carel has a long association with the data centre market and boasts 40 years of experience working with global OEM brands and air movement and cooling systems. From the beginning with the pCO parametric and programmable controls and electrode isothermal ‘steam’ humidifiers up to the present day with the latest atomising/spray evaporative cooling and C-Suite, CAREL’s latest controls platform.

“Our products and brand are often hidden inside the box and we do not benefit from a label, such as Carel inside, on the outside,” explains Nigel Hillier, national sales manager – Climate at Carel UK. “Our experience and product development however is very much thinking ‘outside of the box’ and DatacenterDynamics Converged provided us with the perfect opportunity to demonstrate our offering to the DC market, operators and design engineers.”

Data centres now consume about 3% of all global electricity production and account for around 200 million metric tons of CO2 with worldwide power consumption in 2013 estimated at 43GW. Legislation, directives, and rising energy costs continue to pressurise business to reduce energy consumption and carbon footprint so energy efficiency was again a hot topic at this year’s conference.

“One of our key strengths is that we design and manufacture our own products and consequently our expertise is not limited to just one discipline, such as evaporative cooling,” Hillier continues. “For a data centre operator, or their respective design engineer or consultant, we can combine our knowledge and experience with that of an Own Equipment Manufacturer. The benefit to the end user and their professional team is that we can work in true partnership with their chosen air movement specialist to deliver the most energy efficient solution, providing the right level of modulation and control that mission critical applications and service level agreements demand. We don’t just have the technology – we also have the know-how to customise it and apply it to deliver real energy and running cost savings.”

There are two main adiabatic technologies capable of providing the required levels of cooling available to this already competitive market: wet media and atomisation. As well as humidification, both provide direct and indirect evaporative cooling to compliment, and in some cases replace, mechanical cooling. Wet media is commonly incorporated within an air handling unit or individual ‘box’ type air movement unit and the key in achieving cooling performance is maximising the volume of air that comes into contact with the cooling pad. Although forcing air around a wet media pad is sometimes perceived to be the preferred method for data centres, in fact spray atomisation systems offer higher efficiency as well as more precise modulation and control. Moreover, they can be incorporated within an air handling unit and duct system or applied as an in-room solution.

“Our evaporative cooling solution is different from others on the market and can be applied to operate more efficiently than our competitors,” Hillier explains. “Water is pressurised and atomised into very fine droplets that are quickly absorbed into an airstream. The spray nozzles and distribution rack represent minimal pressure drop and this positively impacts on the air handling unit design in terms of size and fan motor duty to move the air. If the application is for a stand-alone system fan blower units can be positioned fitted within duct plenum sections directly within the space.”

Carel’s successful track record is due in no small measure to its flexible control solutions. By combining scalable, parametric, and programmable controllers with a large range of accessories, such as display screens, sensors and communication modules, and integrated and high efficiency devices, such as electronic expansion valves and drivers, Carel’s bespoke control solutions provide ease of use, flexibility and integration.

“The control of our system is at the heart of the evaporative cooling solution and is based upon our Carel pCO Sistema platform which is customised for this technology. Because we can accurately control exactly how much water is sprayed into the airstream we can maintain the ideal condition with unrivalled precision. Additional monitoring and measuring points, a choice of inputs and outputs, open protocol interface options and remote management monitoring systems are all standard features of our controls solutions and provide operators and design engineers with a wider choice of applications and integrations for data centres. Other Carel devices such as inverter drives and electronic expansion valves, can further enhance the operation and efficiency of the new or existing air movement and cooling services and equipment.”


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