Tech giant Facebook has introduced evaporative air cooling technology to its data centres in a bid to reduce water use and increase efficiency.
The move demonstrates a growing interest in the technology which can reduce water use by more than 20% in areas with a hot and humid climate, and up to 90% in cooler locations, according to Fact.MR senior research consultant, Mohit Loshali.
“In keeping with the growing innovation taking place in air cooling technology, manufacturers are going all out to build products that utilize less resources and provide more output, while maintaining environmental stability,” Loshali said.
“These units along with other systems such as air handlers, fan-coil walls, in-row coolers, chip cooling, and rear-door heat exchangers can significantly improve efficiency levels.
“The main advantage of using this technology is that it will enable companies to build their data centres in regions with a predominantly hot and humid climate.”
In his latest research report released last month, Loshali said this technology will enhance data centre design flexibility because it means using less space for more cooling.
At the same time, manufacturers are utilizing innovative materials to build coolers.
“Innovation is taking the air cooling sector by storm,” Loshali said.
“For example, one of the newest types of evaporative air coolers recently introduced in the market is made of conical tubes of clay installed in a honeycomb design to add to the artistic effect.
“These clay tubes reduce the ambient temperature and are an energy efficient, low-tech, and aesthetic solution that incorporates evaporative cooling.
“The size and shape of these evaporative air coolers manufactured with terra-cotta conical tubes has been determined using advanced computational analytic models and the latest techniques in calibration.
“This innovation can potentially redefine the air cooling technology landscape and augment a building’s energy efficiency levels.”
Loshali said another innovation being witnessed in the air coolers market is the use of structures designed in cloud shapes to cool the temperature in areas where they are installed.
“These cloud evaporative air coolers are a low-energy alternative to traditional air conditioners,” he said.
“Evaporation of water could possibly become the largest renewable energy source in the future, elevating the demand for evaporative air coolers across diverse applications and end use industries.”
Despite all the good news, Loshali did identify some challenges for market adoption.
He warned that evaporative cooling technology may prove inefficient in regions with extreme humidity.
Further, the market for evaporative air coolers is swamped with several low-cost products that incorporate advanced technologies and provide a better energy output.
These alternatives threaten to snatch the market share of evaporative air coolers in the international market. “Also, evaporative air coolers are low on aesthetic appeal and may not conform to the preference standards of a certain class of consumer,” Loshali said.