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The Importance of Water Filtration in Data Center Cooling

Yonatan Pe'er, B.A. // 07 Sep. 2020
Marcom Manager, Marketing Department


In recent years the usage of data centers has grown considerably, particularly during the emerging COVID-19 pandemic as many people are either locked down at — or are working from home. This means that there is a huge amount of data that is constantly being processed in data centers around the world, resulting in increased electricity use, which in-turn generates plenty of heat. 

To deal with the heat, data centers used technologies such as the powerful Computer Room Air-Conditioning (CRAC) requiring a large amount of electricity. The cost of consuming so much electricity is not only financial but also ecological – the need to produce more electricity results in higher carbon emissions to the atmosphere.  

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Cooling towers (exhaust)

Keeping it Cool 

As cooling costs shoot up, data centers started looking for a cheaper, less power-hungry cooling method. Some companies have been moving their data centers to a colder climate to enjoy free cooling (at least part of the year). However, not every organization can make such a move, and that led many to use other solutions such as Evaporative Cooling Systems. Also known as a “Swamp cooler” – the system works by using a powerful fan to push hot air through an area that is rich in moisture (usually by using cooling towers), effectively cooling the air down. This method requires significantly less power than modern-day AC units. The results are reduced costs and carbon emissions due to lower power consumption. 

These systems often rely on chilled water to be the transfer fluid which allows the cooling system to reduce the air temperature inside the data halls.    The issue with this type of cooling is the fear that organisms will enter the system, either from the air, or from the water source itself. Once these organisms are in the system, they can turn it to a breeding ground, resulting in the formation of colonies or biofilm that can clog systems very quickly.  To deal with this threat, data centers employ two methods: 

  • Using biocide materials and agents in their water-cooling systems. 
  • Continuously filtering and disinfecting the water cycling through the system. 

Filtering the Swamp 

As stated above, the water that runs through the cooling systems is at constant risk of contamination from both organic and inorganic contaminants. The most effective solution is running the water through a powerful and reliable water filtration system, capable of removing the contaminants that allow these biological contaminants to proliferate. 

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DVF filter installation in a data center

Amiad has recently started employing the use of a new range of DVF filters, which stands for Double Vortex Filtration – a patented technology that can filter down to sub 1 micron, producing a supply of water free of solids and has a reduced bacterial count. The DVF filters can work in tandem with the Mini Sigma filter to provide a 100-micron pre-filter, followed by a powerful UV unit (UV light is very effective at killing biological contaminants). 

Conclusion 

The move from traditional air conditioning to evaporative cooling is very beneficial for the industry, all the while presenting a new set of challenges. Luckily there are already effective solutions on the market, making the move financially smart and ecologically friendly.