Swedish heat exchange specialist Alfa Laval has introduced a range of data center cooling solutions that follow the principles of Low Speed Ventilation – an approach that requires a greater number of fans but moves the air at considerably slower rates than those achieved with Computer Room Air Conditioning (CRAC) units.

The company says its massive coolers can improve temperature conditions in the data center, save on electricity costs and help achieve PUE as low as 1.07.

The technology has previously been deployed in the Netherlands, but is now available in Nordic countries.

Release the pressure

Low Speed Ventilation system
Low Speed Ventilation system – Alfa Laval

Conventional server cooling technology involves high air speeds of around 8-9 meters per second. Moving air at this speed requires a lot of energy and can trigger the Venturi effect, which leads to air pressure variations and “hot spots” that can cause servers to overheat.

Another drawback of CRACs is the vibration produced by fans, which can be especially damaging around sensitive equipment like hard drives.

In contrast, Low Speed Ventilation delivers air at a considerably slower rate: 1.5 to 1.8 meters per second. This helps minimize pressure differences and prevent the emergence of hot spots.

According to Alfa Laval, Low Speed Ventilation requires more space to accommodate large coolers but consumes up to 30 percent less power than conventional server cooling solutions.

As an additional benefit, the huge banks of fans are located outside the server room, so the maintenance can be carried out without disturbing data center operations.

“We live in an age obsessed with speed, so it may feel counter-intuitive that you can improve performance by slowing something down. However, our new concept shows that if you reduce air velocity, you can avoid problems often encountered in conventional server cooling and gain a lot of benefits such as increased energy efficiency and reduced energy costs,” said Mats Carselid, marketing manager for Data Center Cooling at Alfa Laval.

“Just the fact that Low Speed Ventilation technology allows server halls to operate under normal air pressure makes it a true innovation.”