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With a focus on energy management in green data centers, Rutgers University in New Jersey builds a ground-breaking solar-powered data center “Parasol” with Dantherm Free Cooling & Air Conditioning systems.

What is "Parasol"?
Rutgers Photo 1Rutgers University, the State University of New Jersey, USA built their own "green" data center named Parasol as a research platform to improve the efficiency of data centers.  It is comprised of a small container, a set of solar panels and batteries.  The container is mounted on a steel structure placed on the roof of one of the university buildings. The solar panels are mounted on top of the steel structure and shade the container from the sun.  The container hosts two racks of energy-efficient servers (up to 160 servers) and networking equipment. The container uses free cooling whenever possible, and active air conditioning as needed.

Rutgers Photo 2Efficient Cooling Equipment at "Parasol"
With the focus on energy efficiency, Rutgers needed to partner with a thermal management provider equally focused on energy efficiency.  Dantherm was chosen because of their focus on energy efficient solutions for the Telecom industry.  A Dantherm Flexibox 450 free cooling system and a 19,000 BTU/Hr. air conditioner were selected.  Parasol uses the Flexibox free cooling unit to control the temperature inside the container when the external temperature is lower than 84°F (29°C).  The Flexibox unit consumes 110W at half speed and maximum of 450W (230VAC).  When the temperature is higher than the free cooling threshold, the air conditioner starts working. 

The Parasol data center has been operating for 22 months.  When asked about the cooling behavior of the Dantherm equipment, Rutgers Professor Thu D. Nguyen with the project commented "We have found the combination of free cooling and air conditioning to be energy efficient.  We have observed that in our New Jersey location, the air conditioning unit typically runs for no more than 20 days per year.  Most of the time, free cooling is sufficient to keep Parasol cool.  We have measured an average PUE (power usage effectiveness) of lower than 1.13, including power losses.  Thus, we have been quite happy with the Dantherm cooling systems." The U.S. Department of Energy now mandates a 1.4 PUE for federal data center energy efficiency, so the energy efficiency results achieved at Parasol are considered a success.

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Facts: Free Cooling
  • Energy savings of up to 90%
  • No need for inverter
  • Compact design
  • Mono-block units
  • Very high performance
  • Brushless DC motor
  • Weather-proof casing
  • Ideal for off-grid sites
  • Ideal for battery cooling
Flexibox Free Cooling
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  • Closed loop cooling
  • Strict climate control
  • Brushless, permanently magnetized motor
  • High-quality components
  • Weather-proof casing
  • Mono-block, plug-and-play
  • Easy installation
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The Future of
Data Center Cooling