Chiller ConstructionComplex Mechanical SystemsCooling Tower Construction

Alternatives to Traditional Central Plants for Critical Applications

By October 20, 2017 No Comments

An article in The Next Platform this month highlights a major IT project in Japan undertaken by the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology. The project will build an Artificial Intelligence Bridging Cloud Infrastructure.  It’s a huge endeavor that will include 1,088 server nodes –requiring up to 3.25 megawatts of cooling capacity.

The datacenter that will house all this technology requires a robust central plant environment, which will be a critical component of the overall facility. This type of IT construction is based on must-have availability of cooling liquid;  the uptime requirements mean serious engineering and redundancy is involved. Imagine the impact to more than 1,000 servers if cooling temperatures are not maintained, or during system downtimes for routine maintenance.

Providing traditional mechanical cooling equipment to handle almost 1,000 tons of cooling load would be expensive to install – and operational costs could be excessive, particularly considering the relatively constant load profile that a data center presents.  However, this project has chosen a more creative route:  serving the cooling load with a water system designed to operate at temperatures typically associated with condenser-water systems.  A relatively small, traditional mechanical chiller is included as part of the system – presumably for trimming peak loads when necessary.

There may be certain design challenges to overcome with this approach – such as finding a site capable of accommodating the field of evaporative or dry-cooling equipment required, or assuring the load-side of the system design is capable of rejecting heat using this higher-temperature approach.  But it’s a great application for a creative team that includes expertise on mechanical systems at the general contractor / construction manager level.

That’s where specialized expertise comes into play. Firms like Greenland Enterprises understand the need for dependable infrastructure, multiple levels of redundancy and the ability to perform maintenance with no overall system downtime. Whether it’s a data center or a medical center, when it comes to infrastructure, experience matters.

If you are involved in planning a complex mechanical system, contact the experts at Greenland Enterprises today to learn more about our experts, and to get Greenland on your team as an experienced resource.  If you’re particularly geeky about data centers, here’s a link to the full article about Japan’s new ABCI system.