The global fight to minimise climate change is gaining momentum as more and more industries come aboard. With its commitment to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030 and reaching 75 percent of this goal already in 2025, the data center industry is at the forefront. With the first milestone barely four years away, the clock is ticking, and data center operators need to find ways to achieve carbon neutrality.
Bridging the gap between reliability and sustainability
Increasing the use of renewables in power systems is an obvious way of reducing data center climate impact.
Renewables have come a long way in recent years and are now mature, efficient, and competitive. However, their inherently unstable nature runs counter to the need for uninterrupted power in a data center. To put it very simply, you can’t power a server rack from a PV panel on overcast days.
Fortunately, you do not have to choose between sustainability and reliability. With hybrid eco-systems, you can reduce climate impact while ensuring constant power. This is achieved by adding and prioritising renewables but backing them up with other power sources, and by running those (typically fossil-fuelled) power sources more efficiently, thereby lowering fuel consumption and reducing climate impact.
What is a hybrid eco-system?
Hybrid power is a solution covering a given load demand using a combination of two or more different power sources.
The operator can combine the connected sources as needed to exploit their benefits and reach different operational targets. When renewables are included in a hybrid solution, it is often called an eco-system.
Examples of hybrid eco-systems include a wind or PV plant with a battery energy storage system (BESS), or a setup that combines many power sources: mains power, gensets, several renewables, and BESS.
Flexible by nature, hybrid eco-systems are ideally suited for reducing climate impact because you can configure them to run in a climate-friendly way. For example, they can be set up to use renewable power sources whenever possible, relying on mains or diesel gensets only for backup.
How do you set up and control a hybrid eco-system?
With several different power sources and many possible operating scenarios, the control solution for a hybrid eco-system needs to be intelligent, quick-reacting, and flexible. In order to guarantee uninterrupted uptime, it must also be designed for resilience with full redundancy.
At DEIF, we recommend controlling hybrid eco-systems using an intelligent power management system (PMS) with interconnected controllers capable of handling all the different power sources, and of retaining system control even if a controller fails.
We offer a complete range of compatible controllers that can be combined and connected as desired: AGC-4 Mk II genset and mains controllers and ASC-4 sustainable controllers, capable of handling renewables such as PV panels and turbines plus BESSes.
When combined in an intelligent PMS, the controllers exchange information about the current load demand and the available power from the various sources.
They ensure that the load demand is met according to your requirements, for example by prioritising renewable. They also allow you to carry out other tasks such as storing low-tariff mains power in a BESS for later use or running gensets at their optimal duty point.
Advanced DEIF controllers require no programming. They come with factory logic that has been proven in many different critical power applications, and they only need to be configured for the specific application.
Designed for compatibility, they can quickly be reconfigured on the fly without any downtime, and the system can easily be expanded if more power sources are added to your hybrid eco-system as your requirements change.
Not all or nothing
This controller flexibility is great news if you were wondering if going hybrid is all or nothing at all. With a DEIF PMS, you can make the transition at your own pace, expanding or reconfiguring your hybrid eco-systems as needed.
This means that getting started on the road to carbon neutrality is relatively easy. If you already have a reliable genset or mains-based power setup, for example, you can expand it with one or more renewables and DEIF controllers.
The transition to carbon-neutral data center power needs to happen, but it does not need to happen all at once.
With a reconfigurable, flexible, and intelligent DEIF PMS controlling your hybrid eco-system, you are free to chart your own course towards green data center operations.
For more details, download DEIF’s free whitepaper, ‘Achieving carbon neutrality with hybrid eco-systems’ at deif.com.