Opportunities for Combined Heat and Power in Data Centers

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Data centers represent a rapidly growing and very energy intensive activity in commercial, educational, and government facilities. In the last five years the growth of this sector was the electric power equivalent to seven new coal-fired power plants. Data centers consume 1.5% of the total power in the U.S. Growth over the next five to ten years is expected to require a similar increase in power generation. This energy consumption is concentrated in buildings that are 10-40 times more energy intensive than a typical office building. The sheer size of the market, the concentrated energy consumption per facility, and the ... continued below

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Darrow, Ken & Hedman, Bruce March 1, 2009.

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Description

Data centers represent a rapidly growing and very energy intensive activity in commercial, educational, and government facilities. In the last five years the growth of this sector was the electric power equivalent to seven new coal-fired power plants. Data centers consume 1.5% of the total power in the U.S. Growth over the next five to ten years is expected to require a similar increase in power generation. This energy consumption is concentrated in buildings that are 10-40 times more energy intensive than a typical office building. The sheer size of the market, the concentrated energy consumption per facility, and the tendency of facilities to cluster in 'high-tech' centers all contribute to a potential power infrastructure crisis for the industry. Meeting the energy needs of data centers is a moving target. Computing power is advancing rapidly, which reduces the energy requirements for data centers. A lot of work is going into improving the computing power of servers and other processing equipment. However, this increase in computing power is increasing the power densities of this equipment. While fewer pieces of equipment may be needed to meet a given data processing load, the energy density of a facility designed to house this higher efficiency equipment will be as high as or higher than it is today. In other words, while the data center of the future may have the IT power of ten data centers of today, it is also going to have higher power requirements and higher power densities. This report analyzes the opportunities for CHP technologies to assist primary power in making the data center more cost-effective and energy efficient. Broader application of CHP will lower the demand for electricity from central stations and reduce the pressure on electric transmission and distribution infrastructure. This report is organized into the following sections: (1) Data Center Market Segmentation--the description of the overall size of the market, the size and types of facilities involved, and the geographic distribution. (2) Data Center Energy Use Trends--a discussion of energy use and expected energy growth and the typical energy consumption and uses in data centers. (3) CHP Applicability--Potential configurations, CHP case studies, applicable equipment, heat recovery opportunities (cooling), cost and performance benchmarks, and power reliability benefits (4) CHP Drivers and Hurdles--evaluation of user benefits, social benefits, market structural issues and attitudes toward CHP, and regulatory hurdles. (5) CHP Paths to Market--Discussion of technical needs, education, strategic partnerships needed to promote CHP in the IT community.

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  • Report No.: ORNL/TM-2009/052
  • Grant Number: DE-AC05-00OR22725
  • DOI: 10.2172/950807 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 950807
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc932964

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Office of Scientific & Technical Information Technical Reports

Reports, articles and other documents harvested from the Office of Scientific and Technical Information.

Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI) is the Department of Energy (DOE) office that collects, preserves, and disseminates DOE-sponsored research and development (R&D) results that are the outcomes of R&D projects or other funded activities at DOE labs and facilities nationwide and grantees at universities and other institutions.

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  • March 1, 2009

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Nov. 13, 2016, 7:26 p.m.

Description Last Updated

  • Nov. 21, 2016, 6:52 p.m.

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Darrow, Ken & Hedman, Bruce. Opportunities for Combined Heat and Power in Data Centers, report, March 1, 2009; [Tennessee]. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc932964/: accessed June 20, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.