It's been seven years since the Energy Policy Act of 2005 was enacted with the goal of reducing energy consumption by two percent per year in all federal installations, including power-hungry computer labs and data centers. The act also dictates that new facilities (including their appliances must be designed to levels below existing ASHRAE standards by 30 percent.)
While advances in IT technology including smaller microprocessors and solid state storage have helped in reaching yearly energy reduction goals, it has now become evident that something else has to change: power supplies.
A recent blog post revealed that many data center managers are now turning to 380V DC power supplies for data center power needs in an effort to increase reliability, reduce energy consumption, increase efficiency and simplify equipment installation. Computers tend to use AC power inefficiently, as it is stepped down several times before being converted to DC at the component level, with each step down generating heat. The whole process is pretty inefficient.
With 380V DC power supplies, however, 15kV AC is converted just one time directly to DC, and is then used throughout an entire data center. This process is already much more effective than the previous method, and as sustainable IT equipment becomes more efficient and requires less DC power, the power supplied via one 380V DC system will run more equipment with equal or less energy consumption.
380V DC power is already very popular in Japan, and its use is becoming more common worldwide. For example, Green Data Center out of Switzerland recently opened a new facility in Zurich based on 380V DC power.
"The implementation of 380V DC technology in our data center is part of our long-term energy optimization strategy, a big step that has set a new standard in the industry," Green Data Center CEO Franz Gruter said. "When fully loaded, the system will result in energy savings of up to 20 percent in power consumption from grid to chip and in cooling."
It's obvious that the push toward 380V DC will only become stronger in the coming months and years, thanks to benefits that far outweigh the cost of upgrading.
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