NEXTDC is an expert in innovative data centre outsourcing solutions, connectivity services and infrastructure management software.
In July 2012, its M1 Melbourne data centre— a 15MW hyperscale colocation facility and the largest independent data centre in Victoria — went live.
NEXTDC is committed to sustainability and renewable energy, so it was no surprise when the M1 data centre received a 4.5-star NABERS rating in 2016 for incredible building performance. But that wasn’t enough.
They improved their systems even more, receiving a 5-star NABERS rating in 2019. The M1 data centre became the first data centre to ever receive 5 stars in Australia.
The question — how can you improve something that’s already top-rated?
Test for the best
NEXTDC consulted with the Smardt Chiller Group, a longtime OEM partner for Danfoss, to help them further improve the efficiency of their cooling system.
In applications like data centres, the cooling system is always running to protect the servers.
In a traditional cooling application, like an office building, the system has peak operating hours and off-hours. Therefore, any improvements in efficiency will have major energy savings over time.
In recent years, data centres have been utilizing various technologies to cool their equipment using higher-temperature chiller water, enabling the chiller to consume less power. In response, Danfoss expanded the operating map of their oil-free Turbocor compressor to allow it to generate higher water temperatures while also enabling operation at lower ambient conditions.
Compressors operating in these two areas — high chilled water temperatures and low ambient conditions — run at low compression ratios or low lift.
Operation in this area offers significant energy savings but required some changes to the compressor. Danfoss engineers overcame these challenges by implementing software changes and other improvements needed to allow the oil-free centrifugal Turbocor compressor to run at low lift.
The Smardt team then tested chiller configurations to determine which solutions achieved the most desirable results.
The pilot low-lift configuration was installed on one of the chillers at the M1 Melbourne data centre so that it could run efficiently during low-lift scenarios.
This means that it will activate when the ambient temperature of the data centre is within an optimum threshold of what the cooling system requires. This method significantly cuts energy costs for those chillers — by up to 31 per cent depending on the ambient conditions. This validation of savings paves the way for upgrading the remaining chillers.
The solution has performed so well at the M1 Melbourne plant that NEXTDC has decided to roll out the low-lift chiller configuration across its fleet of data centres. The complete case study available here
Other products from Danfoss that can compliment data centre projects are Pressure independent Balancing and control valves(PICV) , Novocon Digital actuator. Read more: Improve data center safety, reliability and efficiency | Danfoss
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