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Author's profile photo David Cruickshank

SAP Sustainability Day and the SAP Co-Innovation Lab

This has been a very busy week as COIL Palo Alto has spent hours preparing to support and to participate in SAP Sustainability Day. The agenda is totally packed with all kinds of great presentations, demos and exhibits from SAP and its partners. We even have a parking lot full of new electric vehicles and hybrids that I have yet to go check out up close. They are all parked around our first new charging stations installed earlier this week. 

What I wanted to quickly blog about was that COIL is now outfitted with DC power in our computer lab!  We’ve newly installed this week, an AC/DC Rectifier from Delta Products Corporation allowing us to bring DC power to an expanded portion of our Starline power distribution system.

The form factor of this rectifier is similar to that of a standard 42U data center cabinet. The power source is fed from the bottom which is AC coming from our main power grid distributed from a 2000A panel. DC Energy is also fed into this same grid from photovoltaic cells on the roof, after passing through an inverter. There is one 480 volt breaker connected to this panel that serves our rectifier located in our Co-Innovation computer lab. This implementation is partially tied to the fact that DC to DC inverters are still in the development stages but we look forward to exploring this newest technology sometime in the spring of 2011.

Once the energy reaches the rectifier, it passes through an array of batteries which acts as a voltage regulator to then provide 380V of clean power.  The batteries also serve as a mini UPS in that  if power was not reaching the recitifier from the grid, we would have several important minutes to ensure graceful shut down of attached systems. The recitifier system as it stands is deployed to half capacity so we can expand as needed over the next year or two without issue moving easily from 40KW to 60KW. More if we increase the feed from the grid.

For the monment we have 380V DC providing 40 KW to the Starline power distribution system above the rack rows. The span will then support 4 50A breakers where we envision initially supporting up to 4 fully loaded server cabinets.

Why is DC efficient?

Aside from sourcing from clean, sustainable energy DC makes more sense for the data center for a few reasons:

1. DC power supplies run cooler than AC power supplies; there is no need to convert from AC to DC like with traditional AC power supplies.

2. As a result, there is a significant reduction in the need to cool the system.

3. The initial cost to bring DC to COIL is approximately 128,000.00 where we project that SAP will benefit from  a 235 metric ton carbon footprint reduction and a payback on the investment in roughly 5 years.

I intend to blog more as we now work to get the first systems connected to our DC power source. I am told that this will be the first corporate implementation of DC power in a computer data center in the U.S. The opportunities are already apparent so I suspect others will surely be right behind us in bringing DC into the data center.

Aside from the new DC augmentation we are also showcasing COIL projects from OSISoft and Sentilla, both of which I’ve blogged about during TechEd 2010 and of which you can learn more by visiting the COIL web page.



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