Over the past decade, the electricity demand of data centres has increased substantially, by about 11% per year worldwide. In Ireland in 2016, the electricity consumption of data centres was 7.8% of national demand, with this figure expected to rise to 15-20% in the next decade. According to a recent survey by Uptime Institute, the average data centre infrastructure efficiency (DCIE) remains at 58%, meaning that 42% of all incoming power is spent on power conversion and cooling the equipment. Our long-term goal is to examine and develop methods to lower the energy footprint of these systems and promote a closer integration into the energy system.
The increasing presence of data centres has fostered discussion on the additional role they could play in the broader energy ecosystem. Technically, it is possible that data centres could be used as part of a district heating system (reusing captured waste heat) or support a load-balancing capacity:
This work package aims to develop a greater understanding of the drivers of energy consumption in data centres through research into advanced cooling technologies. It also plans to investigate the technical and economic feasibility for recuperating waste heat in data centres for district heating and improved demand-side flexibility.
Please see our recently published working paper "An Economic Evaluation of Future Electricity Use in Irish Data Centres". This paper is part of our ongoing research into the Irish data centre market. If you wish to discuss it further, you are welcome to contact the authors.
Figure 1: An external view of a hyperscale Facebook data centre in Prineville, Oregon (USA) that relies on the use of free-air cooling (Source: MIT Technology Review)
The multiple benefits of large scale energy efficiency for data centres
2021; 34th Annual Irish Economic Association Conference (IEA), Online Only; Bryan Coyne, Eleanor Denny, Desta Fitiwi
An evaluation of the effectiveness of domestic retrofit using Irish utility meter reading data
2020; 13th International Workshop on Empirical Methods in Energy Economics EMEE 2020, Switzerland; Bryan Coyne (Eleanor Denny)
Adaptive Flow Control by Wall Mounted Micromixers in Mesochannel Heat Sinks
2019; 2019 25th International Workshop on Thermal Investigations of ICs and Systems (THERMINIC), Italy; Jaakko McEvoy, Tim Persoons
Hybrid-Cooled Server Optimization for Air-Side Waste Heat Recovery Using Passive and Active Flow Control
2019; 2019 25th International Workshop on Thermal Investigations of ICs and Systems (THERMINIC), Italy; Sara Battaglioli; Assel Sakanova; Tim Persoons
Experimental investigation of flow pulsation waveforms in rectangular mesochannels for high heat flux electronics cooling
2019; Experimental Thermal and Fluid Science; J. McEvoy, S. Alimohammadi, T. Persoons
Mind the Energy Performance Gap: Evidence on Irish Residential Energy Consumption
2019; Irish Postgraduate and Early Career Economics Workshop 2019, Ireland; Coyne, B ; E. Denny
Experimental investigation of resonant flow pulsation in mesochannels embedded with wavy fins
2019; 2019 18th IEEE Intersociety Conference on Thermal and Thermomechanical Phenomena in Electronic Systems (ITherm), United States of America; Jaakko McEvoy; Tim Persoons
Numerical convective heat transfer analysis of a hybrid-cooled data center blade server
2019; 2019 18th IEEE Intersociety Conference on Thermal and Thermomechanical Phenomena in Electronic Systems (ITherm), United States of America; Sara Battaglioli; Assel Sakanova; Tim Persoons
Numerical Convective Heat Transfer Analysis of a Hybrid-Cooled Data Center Blade Server
2019; The 18th Intersociety Conference on Thermal and Thermomechanical Phenomena in Electronic Systems (ITherm 2019), United States of America; Sara Battaglioli, Assel Sakanova, Tim Persoons
Experimental Investigation of Resonant Flow Pulsation in Mesochannels Embedded with Wavy Fins
2019; The 18th Intersociety Conference on Thermal and Thermomechanical Phenomena in Electronic Systems (ITherm 2019), United States of America; Jaakko McEvoy, Tim Persoons
Evaluating the Energy Performance Gap in the Irish residential sector
2019; Irish Economic Association Conference 2018, Ireland; Coyne, B ; E. Denny
An evaluation of the Building Energy Rating using Irish household energy consumption data (2)
2018; Empirical Methods in Energy Economics (EMEE) - 11th International Workshop, Italy; Coyne, B ; E. Denny
An evaluation of the Building Energy Rating using Irish household energy consumption data (1)
2018; Irish Economic Association Conference 2018, Ireland; Coyne, B ; E. Denny
The impact of a subsidised weatherisation scheme on Irish domestic energy consumption
2018; Irish Economics Postgraduate and Early Career Conference 2018, Ireland; Bryan Coyne, Eleanor Denny
An Analysis of Emerging Trends and Constraints in the Irish DataCentre Market
2017; DataCentres Ireland Conference 2017, Ireland; Bryan Coyne, Jaakko McEvoy, Eleanor Denny, Tim Persoons
The future of data centre cooling, energy consumption and climate change
2017; 15th IAEE European Conference 2017 ('Heading Towards Sustainable Energy Systems: Evolution Or Revolution?'), Austria; Coyne, B. and Denny, E.
Aqueous ammonium thiosulfate as a working fluid for refractive index matched PIV applications
2017; Ex-HFT 9 (9th World Conference on Experimental Heat Transfer, Fluid Mechanics and Thermodynamics), Brazil; McEvoy, J. and Persoons, T.
Insights Series Paper 5: Improving data centre efficiency in Ireland
2020; Insights Series; Kathryn Logan et al.