It is a known fact that data centers are a big consumer of electricity. Analysts estimate that by 2020, there will be up to 50 billion devices online. According to Google, a typical search uses as much energy as illuminating a 60-watt light bulb for 17 seconds. These estimates are a further reflection upon the ubiquitous nature of the Internet. Researchers state that data centers as an industry would be using as much as 20% or 1/5th of all available electricity on Earth by 2025.
The electricity provided to data centers to power the servers that host our Facebook posts, our Instagram pictures and our Tweets run on DC power (or Direct Current). The data center industry in general has standardized on computer room electrical distribution of AC power (or Alternating Current) between 100 volts and 240 volts, and largely prefer to use low voltage static UPS systems. Engineers are searching for ways to make this equipment more efficient, i.e. demand less electricity per unit of data processing.
A Direct Current Isolated-Parallel (DCIP) Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) system is a method for converting incoming AC power to DC power using several modules which are paralleled at their outputs for redundancy, yet fault isolated from each other for robustness. The DCIP UPS has two or more modules connected to a common IP Bus which operates at AC voltage and is disposed between a facility electrical distribution system and the facility’s critical electrical loads which operate at DC voltage. The electrical distribution system receives power from a local utility, or from a standby power source when utility power is unavailable and delivers AC power to the DCIP UPS input.
The DCIP UPS converts the power to DC and delivers it to critical electrical loads associated with computer equipment or other devices using DC power. The individual modules that comprise the DCIP UPS share the DC loads equally yet remain isolated such that a fault within one module or its load will not disrupt the operation or loads of the remaining modules. The equal sharing of DC loads, plus the elimination of some power transformation stages, can produce significant savings in data center electrical power consumption.
The Renewable Future
Over the last few years various sources of renewable energy generation are being seriously considered by the data center industry, including fuels cells, solar power, wind power and others. Both data center owner/operators and end-users of data centers are now targeting for being powered by 100% renewable sources.