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Chillers and fuel cells: the greening of the hosting industry continues

So-called “green data centers” are popping up in strategic locations all over the world as hosting companies work towards the business-friendly trinity of improved energy-efficiency, reduced emissions and the ability to market an eco-friendly service to its customers and improved standards and technologies are making it easier than ever for firms of all sizes to get involved.

Some of the latest offerings intended to help data center administrators manage their energy consumption are the economization solutions presented by Emerson Network Power, including their new chiller plant. Designed to control compressor and pump operation with ideal temperatures in mind, Emerson’s chiller plant circulates outside air throughout a large indoor area, naturally cooling the building and limiting the energy expended compared to traditional cooling methods. By pushing water chilled by the outside air through coils in order to distribute air, the amount of electricity needed to cool the overall space is minimized.

“When a data center is located where weather conditions are favorable, economization can be a viable strategy for reducing energy use…and cutting costs. However, because business continuance is the ultimate goal of any data center, it is important to weigh the benefits of different types of economizers against their associated costs and risks.”  –  Fred Stack, Emerson’s VP of marketing

Another burgeoning technology aimed at reducing data center power consumption is the gas-powered fuel cell made by Bloom Energy. With Google as an early adopter – the very first, in fact – Bloom seems poised to revolutionize data centers through the use of fuel cells running on methane or other hydrocarbons, providing energy in the forms of electricity, heat and even water.

While 60 Minutes offered a look at Google’s use of Bloom Energy’s fuel cells earlier this week, showcasing Google’s apparent use of four Bloom units to power one of its data centers, a statement released by the web giant following the broadcast confirmed that none of their data centers are yet utilizing fuel cells. Calling the show “erroneous,” a Google spokesperson clarified that, while the company is using fuel cells to fulfill some of its energy needs at the Google campus in California, the technology has not been integrated into any of its data centers – yet.

Bloom Energy’s services will not officially launch until tomorrow afternoon with a press conference to be held in order to detail the company’s offerings as it contributes to a greener future for energy creation in all industries, the hosting sector in particular.

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