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Data Centers Can Benefit from Energy-Efficient Electric Cooling Motors

By Jim Romeo | Jan 18, 2024
Rows of servers behind glass doors in a data center
A major concern of data center owners and operators is dissipating the heat generated by servers and reducing overall energy consumption.

Data center construction is following the robust demand for high-performance computing and a growing reliance on data storage and computation from all fronts. According to Grand View Research, the global data center market is about $195 billion, and it is expected to grow by about 11% per year over the next seven years.

In a data center, servers are stacked high and deep, and electronics abound. Keeping these servers continuously running and actively sending and receiving data generates a significant amount of heat.

A major concern of data center owners and operators is dissipating the heat generated by servers and reducing overall energy consumption. Data center designers and owners are seeking new ways to conserve energy and maintain safe operating temperatures in the electronics environment.

In aggregate, data centers consume much energy. According to Infinitum, a company that manufactures electrical equipment, data centers consume about 2% of the world’s energy. And energy consumption in totality will continue to rise.

Within the data center itself, a whopping 40% of the energy consumed is from motors powering cooling equipment. Such equipment includes fans pumps and compressors to reduce the server heat load. Most equipment is motor driven and is often at a fixed speed, using more horsepower than needed most of the time. Thus, a variable-speed motor is ideal if programmed correctly to deliver the needed horsepower to power equipment that aids the cooling equation of the center itself. The cooling requirements vary by time of day and day of the week.

A new motor developed by Infinitum may be customized to meet specific horsepower, speed and torque requirements for a cooling application. The cooling motor has been designed with an efficiency that cuts down the total energy consumption of the motor by more than 10%–15%, on average.

Infinitum’s Aircore EC motors are 50% smaller and lighter. They are also more efficient and quieter. They are manufactured with 66% less copper than traditional motors, so they are more sustainable and cost-efficient (given a recent history of high copper prices). The motors are also designed as modules. Thus, the motor housing, rotors and stators can be overhauled and reused. This provides an extended life cycle and better engineering economic efficiency.

What does this mean for electrical contractors?

Sometimes contractors are tasked with helping to select equipment. In almost all cases, if the contractor is installing such equipment, it greatly behooves them to understand the how and why of such equipment. Electrical contractors are part of the end-to-end team in data center construction, expansion and refurbishing of existing equipment. It’s important to be vigilant of new technology available to a lucrative market and why such innovations are important.

About The Author

ROMEO is a freelance writer based in Chesapeake, Va. He focuses on business and technology topics. Find him at www.JimRomeo.net.

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