RenewIT, a European Commission research project, today launched the final version of its free online tool for the design and placement of energy-efficient and renewable-powered data centres.
The RenewIT Tool is designed to help data centre operators, designers and other stakeholders select the optimum combination of efficiency measures and renewables for energy and carbon sustainable facilities.
It also makes it easy to compare more than 60 locations across Europe in terms of electricity costs, access to renewables and other factors that influence decisions when planning the site of a new facility. Future development of the tool may extend this to North America and Asia.
ING, the major Netherlands-based financial services company, has been involved with RenewIT from the outset. Using models developed by the project, RenewIT was able to demonstrate how ING could improve the efficiency of one of its carbon-neutral facilities by using a biogas fuel cell and by raising the operating temperature in its data centre.
“After three years of research and development, it’s great to be able to launch the finalised RenewIT Tool and more importantly that we can make it available for free,” said Andrew Donoghue, RenewIT project spokesperson, and data centre analyst at 451 Research. “The tool is truly unique. It not only allows data centre operators to model the benefits and costs of on-site and grid renewables but also the efficiency gains from technologies such as free cooling, and even workload management, can also be assessed in detail.”
The project, which is due to end in September 2016, has also released a number of other software tools and research reports on its main web site including:
· Renewable energy optimised data centre monitoring tool: an online monitoring tool for data centre operators to manage facilities that generate energy on-site using renewables sources such as solar and wind. (The final tool is not available for free but a demo version can be accessed on the main project website)
· A free catalogue of advanced renewable and energy efficiency technologies: these data centre design documents help data centre operators integrate renewable and energy-efficiency technologies. Examples include combining district heating and cooling networks, re-use of heat, free cooling, and electrical storage.
· Renewable energy optimised data centre workload management. The project has also developed a Virtual Machine Manager (VMM), as well as associated research, which can be used to optimise data centre IT workloads to maximise use of renewable energy.
· Green data centre library: this features a collection of TRNSYS-based energy components to model both energy-efficiency and renewable energy technologies.
RenewIT has worked closely with the data centre industry through its advisory board and its team of data centre operators who provided on-going data and feedback on tools and research. The project also cooperated with other research projects to develop new renewable energy and energy efficiency metrics through the European Commission Smart City Cluster. (https://www.smartcitiescluster.eu)
RenewIT, which began on 1st October 2013, is made up of both commercial and scientific organisations led by not-for-profit energy research centre Catalonia Institute for Energy Research (IREC). The other members are 451 Research, Barcelona Supercomputing Center (BSC), Loccioni Group of Italy, Aiguasol energy consulting and modelling specialists, Amsterdam-based sustainable engineering and data centre design specialist Deerns, and Technische Universität Chemnitz Professorship in Technical Thermodynamics (TUC). The organisations bring a range of expertise to the project including green IT (IREC), renewable energy systems (AIGUASOL) and energy storage (TUC), data centre monitoring (Loccioni), workload and application energy management (BSC) and energy efficient data centre design (Deerns).
RenewIT is one of six related energy efficient data centre research projects funded by the EU under its Framework Programme 7 (FP7) initiative. The other projects are DOLFIN, GENiC, GEYSER, GreenDataNet and DC4Cities. The goal of these projects is to develop research and commercial tools to help increase the proportion of renewable energy generated and used by data centres.