Asia Pacific’s data centre service market is expected to grow by 27% per annum and is set to exceed the European market by 2021, according PwC’s Surfing the Data Wave report. In September, Facebook announced it was investing US$1 billion to build its first data centre in Asia. Google also recently announced it was investing US$850 million to expand its Singapore data centres to meet demand stemming from mobile growth, e-commerce and cloud computing. As demand for data centre surges in the region, the need for solutions to keep data centres cool is also on the rise.
“Water is a nontoxic and safe resource that has excellent heat transfer properties, making it an ideal medium for cooling applications,” said Vishal Sharma, senior vice president and general manager, Nalco Water Asia Pacific, Ecolab. “Having said that, the challenges of water availability in many parts of the planet make it a necessity for good water management to minimise consumption and maximise reuse and recycling.”
“The challenges of water availability in many parts of the planet make it a necessity for good water management to minimise consumption and maximise reuse and recycling.” - Vishal Sharma, senior vice president and general manager, Nalco Water Asia Pacific, Ecolab.
While water is the preferred method for keeping data centres at the ideal temperature, it’s not perfect. Chilled water-cooling systems face three common challenges: corrosion, bio-fouling and scale.
“Countries in the APAC region have different water qualities, so the challenges vary,” Sharma said. “In tropical areas, corrosion and biofouling are typically major concerns, which is why treating the water is vital to optimizing the chilled water-cooling systems’ performance.”
For data centres, corrosion, biofouling and scaling in water could lead to an increase in operating costs. For example, a scale of 0.3 mm, the same thickness as egg shells, on a chilled water-cooling system results in 21% loss in heat transfer. For a 1,200-ton chilled water-cooling system, that’s equal to US$16,000 in additional energy consumption per year.
Properly treating water is also vital to protecting this precious resource — by 2030, the demand for water is set to surpass supply by 40%. To address the growing gap between demand and supply, Ecolab offers a wide range of solutions that remove impurities and allow companies to recycle wastewater or improve water quality for use in chilled water-cooling systems.
3D TRASAR technology offers water treatment solutions for corrosion, biofouling and scaling such as:
“Ecolab touches 1.5 billion digital users daily with our worldwide water treatment programme,” Sharma said. “Globally, Ecolab’s cooling water technologies combined saved 146 billion gallons of water in 2017 — equivalent to the yearly drinking water needs of more than 505 million people.”
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