Compressed air provides efficient back-up power for data centres

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Compressed air provides efficient back-up power for data centresData centres can cut the carbon footprint of their Uninterruptible Power Supply systems significantly with a new range of compressed air battery solutions, launched today by Pnu Power at Data Centre World in London.

Pnu Power says its 1MVA Air-DRUPS and 100/200kW systems are purpose-designed for data centre UPS and are targeted as direct replacements for large rotary and conventional battery UPS systems, and can bring greater energy efficiency, lower maintenance and reduced whole life costs.

The Pnu Power 1MVA Air-DRUPS (compressed air, diesel, rotary UPS), uses a compressed air battery in place of a rotary solution to provide back-up power. The plug-and-play containerised package includes a diesel generator and can be scaled up to 3MVA. Meanwhile, the self-contained 100 and 200kW compressed air battery units have been designed to replace conventional UPS battery installations.

“Rotary-based systems have significant power losses in standby mode and normal batteries require regular maintenance to ensure reliable operation,” said Pnu Power product manager Andrew Goodwin. “By contrast, compressed air batteries use negligible power on standby, and are virtually maintenance-free, with a minimum 20-year service life. They instantly deliver 100 per cent of the UPS power required and greatly reduce the need for diesel generator starts caused by short outages.”

At the heart of each product is a scroll generator — a spiral pump of the type used for decades in superchargers and air conditioning units, but effectively running in reverse. Powered by industry-standard compressed air, the scroll drives a conventional generator to produce electricity on demand. Ultra capacitors and sophisticated electronic controls ensure that UPS power is delivered instantaneously.

Goodwin added: “The carbon footprint of data centres is increasingly a matter of concern. They consume more than three per cent of electricity in the USA and their use of power is growing rapidly across the world. Compressed air batteries are a smarter choice because they are significantly more energy efficient than older UPS/backup technologies.”



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