Tropical data centre uses sea currents for cooling
A Tier 4 data centre cooled by sea water, and part-powered by sugar-based biofuel, is scheduled to commence construction on Mauritius in December, as part of the island’s bid to become a communications hub for the Indian Ocean region.
The Eco-Park project will exploit Mauritius’s position on the path of cold deep sea currents, using environmentally-sensitive technologies. Deep water temperature of 5º centigrade 1000 meters below sea level, about 4900 meters off-shore, enable the use of seawater air-conditioning (SWAC), a technology already in use on islands like Curacao in the Caribbean, and Hawaii in the Pacific. SWAC uses the cold seawater to cool water-based premises chillers, thereby reducing the facility’s energy consumption.
Preliminary analyses carried out by Dutch renewable energy specialist E-Concern indicate that when fully operative, the system could deliver a displaced electricity saving of 94 per cent to cool a data centre infrastructure of 10,000 square meters, with a cooling demand of 8.5Mw. This would represent a displaced conventional electricity cost of around $3m per annum, the project’s planners claim, although 6 per cent of conventional electrical energy would still be required for water pumping.
The 10,000 square-metre Eco-Park data centre development joins the Mauritius’s existing Ebene ‘Cyber City’ development, 15km south of the capital St Louis. The island is already connected to the SAT-3/WASC (South Atlantic 3/West Africa Submarine Cable), a submarine communications circuit linking Portugal and Spain to South Africa, with connections to several West African countries en route. The facility also aims to be connected to the eastern African cable initiatives by the end of 2010.