DataBank, a provider of data center colocation, connectivity and managed services, is announcing a unique addition to its ATL1 data center in midtown Atlanta’s Tech Square CODA collaborative. A newly installed microgrid employs three power resources: a natural gas and diesel generator, energy cells, and a battery bank.
The microgrid would enable several measures, automatically. First, it acts as an emergency generator source in case of power failure. Second, it acts as a standalone power source delivering a maximum of 1.5 megawatts to the Georgia Institute of Technology’s High-Performance Computer Center (HPCC), which is housed in ATL1. The microgrid can run parallel to Georgia Power’s grid as an additional power source.
The cost of powering the HPCC during peak hours would increase significantly. The benefit of the microgrid is that during peak hours, it can adjust energy draws and peak load to save costs. The microgrid is also capable of sensing the HPCC total kilowatt load and then delivering power based on the capacity needed.
The microgrid serves as a collaborative effort in a research and development capacity for Georgia Power, Southern Company R&D, The Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech), and DataBank.
“The microgrid project will give us a better understanding of the resiliency, sustainability, and cost of microgrids,” said Alan Goldin, project manager at Georgia Power. “It is meant to help develop emerging energy solutions to better serve our customers now and in the future.”
Data Center Innovations
“The microgrid is a ‘smart grid’ in effect as it can sense the capacity and power needed for the HPCC, and adjust automatically, for both optimum power consumption as well as cost-effectiveness,” said Neal Bryant, Facilities Manager at the DataBank ATL1 data center. “The combination of mechanical equipment like cooling towers and mechanical pumping, along with IT infrastructure allows for varying loads during testing. The microgrid senses those varying loads and exports power accordingly.”
“The microgrid is a winning situation for all the partners involved,” said Tim Lieuwen, the Executive Director of Georgia Tech’s Strategic Energy Institute. “It allows us to more efficiently run our supercomputing center, provides backup power for DataBank’s facility and reduces load at peak times for Georgia Power.”
“This microgrid, just like our heat recycling initiative, is another example of how DataBank smartly applies technology innovations to evolve the data center experience and meet the demands of customers, partners, and our environment,” added Brandon Peccoralo, General Manager of DataBank ATL1.