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Facebook will introduce new indirect cooling technology to its first data centre to be built in Asia.

The billion dollar data centre will use a new cooling system developed by Nortek Air Solutions, a leading provider of custom air handlers.

It is Facebook's 15th data centre and will be based in Singapore.

The social network expects the 11-storey, 170,000 square metre, data centre to begin operations in 2022.

While Facebook usually relies on outdoor air and direct evaporative cooling systems in its data centres, Singapore's high humidity and high temperatures led to the development of the StatePoint Liquid Cooling (SPCL) Technology.

It features an advanced evaporative cooling system that uses water instead of air and is designed to reduce water consumption by up to 20 per cent.

It is expected to achieve a Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) of 1.19, making it one of the most efficient in the region.

The StatePoint system uses a liquid-to-air exchanger in which water evaporates through a membrane separation layer to cool the data centre.

Nortek Air Solutions said the liquid-to-air membrane exchanger prevents cross contamination between the water and air streams.

With the addition of a pre-cooling coil, the system can maintain required cooling water and temperatures in humid climates using minimal supplemental mechanical cooling.

“When deployed, the new cooling will allow us to build highly water- and energy-efficient Facebook data centres in places where direct cooling is not feasible,” Veerendra Mulay, Facebook’s research and development mechanical engineer, wrote in a blog.

“Based on our testing in several different locations, we anticipate the (new) system can reduce water usage by more than 20 per cent for data centres in hot and humid climates and by almost 90 per cent in cooler climates in comparison with previous indirect cooling systems.”

The heart of the SPLC system is a liquid-to-air energy exchanger, where water is cooled as it evaporates through a membrane separation layer, he wrote in the blog post. The cold water then cools the air inside the data centre and keeps servers at optimal temperatures.

“When outside air temperatures are low, the SPLC’s most energy- and water-efficient mode uses that air to produce cold water. When outside air temperatures rise, the SPLC system will operate in an adiabatic mode, in which the system engages the heat exchanger to cool the warm outside air before it goes into the recovery coil to produce cold water,” Mulay wrote.

“In hot and humid weather, the SPLC will operate in super-evaporative mode, where outside air is cooled by a pre-cooling coil and then used to produce cold water.”

Check out CCN's annual data centre cooling feature in the December 2018 edition of the magazine.

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