The NCI Data Centre’s innovative free cooling system has covered 74% of our cooling requirements, saving more than $200,000 annually.
The purpose-built NCI Data Centre, which houses all our computational and storage infrastructure, was completed in late 2012. One of the key design philosophies for the new building was ‘free
Raijin runs at 95 degrees Celcius, requiring constant cooling. Free cooling involves taking advantage of the outside air temperature to eliminate the need for noisy, expensive and energy-consuming chillers.
The NCI Data Centre equipment racks are installed such that heat generated from the computers is sandwiched within a ‘hot aisle’ corridor between two rows of racks. The hot air is then drawn over cool water radiators and the heat is transferred to the water. The newly cooled air can then be drawn back through the Data Centre.
Meanwhile, the hot water in the radiators is cooled by running it through an evaporative cooling tower on the Data Centre roof. Canberra’s low humidity makes it an ideal place to employ free cooling; unless the ambient outside temperature falls below 16C, there’s no need for additional cooling via an industrial chiller.
Since beginning operation, we have been able to meet 74% on average of our cooling requirements using free cooling. This equates to a saving of around $212,000 in electricity costs annually. Overall, the estimated Power Usage Efficiency for the NCI Data Centre is 1.24, making it 250% more efficient than the average Data Centre in the United States.