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Businesses The Almighty Buck IT Technology

Swedish Data Center Saves $1M a Year Using Seawater For Cooling 78

alphadogg writes "A data center in Sweden has cut its energy bills by a million dollars a year using seawater to cool its servers, though jellyfish are an occasional hazard. Interxion, a collocation company in the Netherlands that rents data center space in 11 countries, uses water pumped from the Baltic Sea to cool the IT equipment at its facilities in Stockholm. The energy used to cool IT equipment is one of the costliest areas of running a data center. Companies have traditionally used big, mechanical chillers, but some are turning to outside air and evaporative techniques as lower-cost alternatives."
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Swedish Data Center Saves $1M a Year Using Seawater For Cooling

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  • by MoFoQ ( 584566 ) on Friday May 17, 2013 @01:42AM (#43748933)

    So...from the article:

    Before Interxion started the project, its energy bills were about $2.6 million a year to cool 1 megawatt of IT load. Today, its energy bill is $5.4 million to cool 5.5 megawatts of IT load, meaning the system has saved it about $1 million a year.

    So "today" per 1MW of IT load, it would cost $5.4million / 5.5MW or $981818.18 ( 54/55 million $ per MW or 0.981818182 x million $ per MW)
    $2.6 million - $0.98 million > $1 million

    Now, if he wanted to cool 5.5MW of IT load, it would cost him $14.3 million with the old method vs $5.4 million with the seawater method.
    Even if you account for the cost of the third-party...$14.3 million vs $5.4 million is a big difference.

  • by Jherek Carnelian ( 831679 ) on Friday May 17, 2013 @01:53AM (#43748991)

    Let's all of us dump our excess heat into the ocean and see how if works out better in the long haul.

    The article said the warm water is sent to heat pumps to warm up houses in the town. They don't say if they are able to bring the temperature back down to the original levels or not, or even if the water is pumped back into the ocean.

  • by goodmanj ( 234846 ) on Friday May 17, 2013 @01:54AM (#43748999)

    Read the article: after leaving the data center, the heat is sent to a heat pump where it's used to heat houses.

  • Nothing special (Score:4, Informative)

    by Guspaz ( 556486 ) on Friday May 17, 2013 @02:25AM (#43749151)

    This isn't exactly unique or special. [wikipedia.org] Most of downtown Toronto is covered by the cooling grid from one such deep-water lake cooling systems, and I know of at least one datacenter (one of if not the most critical in the country) that uses the service.

  • It's not that salty (Score:5, Informative)

    by techno-vampire ( 666512 ) on Friday May 17, 2013 @02:45AM (#43749233) Homepage
    The Baltic Sea [wikipedia.org] isn't anywhere near as salty as it sounds. There are so many rivers emptying into it that parts of it, especially in the northern part, are very close to fresh water, and most (if not all) of the fish there are fresh water species. That's why, back in the Viking days, people in that area had to buy salt from mines in what's now Poland, instead of getting it from the sea as most other maritime areas do. This simplifies things tremendously, because they don't have to worry anywhere near as much about corrosion from the salt.
  • by Dtyst ( 790737 ) on Friday May 17, 2013 @02:51AM (#43749247)
    In March 2009, Google purchased the Summa Mill from Finnish paper company Stora Enso and converted the 60 year old paper mill into a data center.
    http://www.google.com/about/datacenters/inside/locations/hamina/ [google.com]
    Here is a video about Googles sea water cooling system:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VChOEvKicQQ [youtube.com]
  • by mtempsch ( 524313 ) on Friday May 17, 2013 @08:33AM (#43750763)
    Some [suitably located] data centers, for instance this one [www.idg.se], in Sweden do pump heat into the "remote heat" (fjärrvärme) grid [wikipedia.org], which then goes out to individual homes, apartment buildings etc
  • by petermgreen ( 876956 ) <plugwashNO@SPAMp10link.net> on Friday May 17, 2013 @10:54AM (#43752415) Homepage

    Not easilly.

    Computers typically use air cooling, the exhaust temperature of a computer is not very far above the intake temperature and the intake temperature is typically arround normal room temperature or lower. So the exhaust temperature is likely to be barely above normal room temperature making moving the heat arround difficult.

    You could raise the intake temperature to the computers but doing so would have significant disadvantages. Firstly it would reduce the ammount of time you had between cooling equipment failure and the temperature rising beyond the maximum safe level for the equipment. Secondly it may cause equipment that isn't designed to work in those temperatures to fail or at least reduce it's life. It would also make things rather uncomforable for people working in the datacenter.

    You could also redesign the computers to use liquid cooling, since liquid cooling is far more efficient than air cooling you could run the loop at a significantly higher temperature than typical datacenter air temperatures while keeping the core temperature the same. The downside is of course you'd need to redesign the cooling systems in all your computers and come up with a system for safely adding and removing computers to/from the liquid cooling system.

Nothing is finished until the paperwork is done.