Tri-generation plant to cut bank's energy bill  

Posted by Big Gav in , , ,

Australian bank NAB has implemented a variant on a cogeneration system (apparently using traditional technology rather than a "Bloom Box" style fuel cell) within their main data centre in order to cut power bills and Tri-generation plant to cut bank's energy bill.

NATIONAL Australia Bank expects to save nearly $1 million in annual power costs by installing a tri-generation plant at its main data centre in Melbourne. Tri-gen plants produce electricity and use waste energy to produce heat and cooling. The resulting energy consumption is much lower than using a traditional electricity grid.

NAB embarked on the tri-gen path two years ago for sustainability purposes, as it was facing power consumption growth of 10 per cent annually.

ComputerWorld has more, noting that server virtualisation also helps save a lot of energy consumption - NAB data centre uses trigen, saves 20k tonnes of carbon.
Trigen technology introduces cooling processes into co-generation technology, which reuses heat from energy manufacture. Co-generation is the technology behind the famous New York stream system which transports heat for homes and office buildings.

The gas-powered data centre channels excess gas — heated to more than 300ÂșC — into the 2 megawatt trigen plant where it is sent into an absorption chiller that boils refrigerant liquid to produce cold water for cooling.

NAB data centre platform specialist, Glenn Allan, said the trigen plant was quietly switched on early this month. “We are farming a single energy expense for multiple re-use,” Allan said. “We are the first [to use trigen] in data centres, but you will be able to count the months until the next deployment.”

Allan said trigen power will gradually replace the data centres’ remaining energy grid dependence and will be considered for incorporation into all new NAB data centres. “These aren’t emergency stand-by technologies — they are running the baseload power every day of the week,” Allan said. ...

NAB’s primary Melbourne data centre has been a favourite of the banks’ carbon razor gang, as part of the carbon neutral initiative through which the bank has conducted efficiency assessments, bought a fleet of hybrid vehicles, switched to 10 per cent green power and slashed energy use in its 790 branches. ...

Power and cooling costs can also be significantly reduced by replacing ordinary servers with blades and using virtualisation, Allan said. Blade servers are the staple in NAB’s data centres and, while virtualisation has been deployed extensively, he warned that the enterprise consolidation ratios may not reach some of the more optimistic predictions. Allan said the most productive uses of virtualisation are only coming out now after the “toy factor” mentality has passed.

“There is a litany of inventions in history where the usefulness is only discovered later… virtualisation could be made more useful if I could create backup application on a server, inflate it for 90 minutes then remove it so it doesn’t take up resources,” he said.

“[Virtualisation] will lower the server-to-power ratio — NAB has 16 blades to six power supplies — and if you virtualise, the ratio becomes incredible,” he said. “The case for virtualisation is off the table; everyone should do it, if not for the power savings than for the improved change management capabilities.”

The data centre uses cold and hot isle systems and Allan, who is eagerly watching research in jet impingement chip cooling, said every data centre should operate advanced cooling management models.

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