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Air cooling unit for data centers

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Air cooling unit for data centers


An air handling unit utilizing a humidifier in conjunction with a heat exchanger to provide a means for free cooling recirculating return air with evaporatively cooled outside air. A first air stream comprising outside air can be circulated through the evaporative humidifier and a first portion of the energy recovery heat exchanger, while a second air stream comprising recirculated inside air can be circulated through a second portion of the heat exchanger. The outside air will be humidified as it circulates through the humidifier, thereby cooling the outside air to its adiabatic saturation temperature. The heat exchanger will cool the recirculating inside air with the evaporatively cooled outside air.
Related Terms: For Free Free Cooling Humidifier

Inventors: Stephen Madaffari, Eric Derasse
USPTO Applicaton #: #20120298334 - Class: 16510413 (USPTO) - 11/29/12 - Class 165 
Heat Exchange > Intermediate Fluent Heat Exchange Material Receiving And Discharging Heat >Plural Intermediate Fluent Heat Exchange Materials

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The Patent Description & Claims data below is from USPTO Patent Application 20120298334, Air cooling unit for data centers.

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I. CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application Ser. No. 61/491,057 filed May 27, 2012.

II. BACK GROUND

Data centers—facilities that primarily contain electronic equipment used for data processing, data storage, and communications networking—have become common and essential to the functioning of nearly every sector of the economy to aid business processes, information management, and communications functions. Increasing demand for computer resources has led to significant growth in the number of data center servers, along with a considerable increase in the energy used by these servers and the cooling infrastructure that supports them. The cooling infrastructure for data centers is estimated to account for 50 percent of the total energy consumption of data centers. See U.S. EPA Report to Congress on Server and Data Center Energy Efficiency, Public Law 109-431 (August 2007).

The continuous operation of the electronic equipment generates a significant amount of heat. The role of data center air-conditioning systems is to remove this heat from the data center to keep the components of the electronic equipment within the manufacturers\' specified temperature and humidity ranges. Cooling in data centers is often provided by computer room air conditioning units, where the entire air handling unit is situated on the data center floor. The air handling unit contains fans, filters, and cooling coils and is responsible for conditioning and distributing air throughout the data center. In most cases, air enters the top of the air conditioning unit and is conditioned as air passes across coils containing chilled water pumped from a chiller located outside of the data center room. The conditioned air is then supplied to the electronic equipment (primarily servers), typically through a raised floor area. Fans within the servers pull the conditioned air through the servers. The warmed air then stratifies toward the ceiling and eventually makes its way back to the air conditioning unit intake. Most air circulation in data centers is internal to the data center zone. To maintain a controlled environment, the majority of data centers are designed so that only a small amount of outside air enters.

Due the increased energy and capital costs associated with the expanded use of computer resources, there has been mounting interest in opportunities for energy efficiency in the information technology (IT) industry. Air-side economizers are increasingly being considered as a viable option for lowering the energy usage of a data center\'s cooling infrastructure. An air-side economizer is a type of air handling unit which takes advantage of cold outside temperatures to provide “free cooling” cycles that reduce or eliminate the need for the mechanical air cooling (i.e., cooling via compressors, chillers, cooling media pumps, etc.) employed by traditional data center air-conditioning systems.

Given that a data center must run continuously for a total of 8,760 hours per year, significant energy savings can be achieved with a typical air-side economizer when the outside air conditions fall within the allowable ranges. However, the operating hours of an air-side economizer are dependent on the outside air conditions—namely, the air temperature and air humidity. An air-side economizer can provide free cooling any time the outside temperature is below the required supply temperature and below the required supply dew point for the controlled environment. The economizer cycle can provide partial free cooling by reducing the mechanical cooling load when the outdoor temperature is higher than the required supply temperature but the outdoor air dew point is less than the dew point of the return air. In the context of data centers, the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) has provided the following recommended and allowable temperature and humidity ranges for data centers:

Recommended Allowable Temperature 18-27° C. (64.5-80.6° F.) 15-32° C. (59-90° F.) Humidity 5.5-15° C. Dew Point 20%-80% Relative (41.9-59° F.) Humidity

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stats Patent Info
Application #
US 20120298334 A1
Publish Date
11/29/2012
Document #
13472899
File Date
05/16/2012
USPTO Class
16510413
Other USPTO Classes
165 96, 622592
International Class
/
Drawings
7


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