Google to build its first thermal storage for a data center

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Google has been more than creative when it comes to making its data centers more energy efficient and greener (seawater cooling and water recycling), and this week says it plans to implement a new energy efficient feature for a data center in Taiwan: thermal energy storage. Thermal energy storage systems commonly use chilled liquid or ice to act as a thermal battery, enabling a data center operator to run air conditioning at night (when rates are cheaper) and during the day pump the chilled liquid around the facility for cooling.

Thermal storage systems are particularly good ways to save money when peak power grid rates are high, and using liquid or ice is a cleaner and longer lasting way to store energy than batteries. A Google exec says that a potential increase in electricity rates in Taiwan is one reason for building the new system, and the exec also notes that the Taiwan Google data center will use 50 percent less energy than typical facilities.

There’s a couple startups building these types of systems including Ice Energy, which sells its Ice Bear thermal energy storage system. Data Center Knowledge points out a few data centers that are already using these types of thermal storage systems including  i/o Data Centers’ Phoenix ONE data center and Digital Realty Trust’s carrier hotel at 350 East Cermak in Chicago.

Google is planning on spending $700 million on building three data centers in Taiwan, and this will be Google’s third data center cluster in Asia after Hong Kong and Singapore. Google will continue to employ green and energy efficient practices at its growing number of data centers under construction throughout the world. This is the first time Google has used thermal energy storage systems for a data center.

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