400 VDC for Data Centers
Converting, transforming, converting, transforming – vast amounts of unused electricity simply disappear in data centers. The idea of switching the power supply to direct current and bypassing a large proportion of these losses results in a paradigm shift.
The supply of a data center using direct current has enormous potential. Not only does it offer the potential for saving energy, but also, to the same degree, savings on costs, space, resources and time. Furthermore, the supply of renewable energy sources offers the possibility of providing electricity directly for the data center as a direct current, without additional transformation or conversion processes.
Some data centers around the world already use DC technology. In China, Japan, the USA, Germany and also in Switzerland. However to date, there have been no binding standards to adhere to. The IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission) has set out to create the missing link with standardized plug and socket devices according to TS 62735. The standard IEC TS 62735-1 has been adopted since August 2015 for systems up to 2.6 kW relating to the distribution of power. The standard IEC TS 62735-2 was approved in December 2016 for higher outputs of up to 5.2 kW - which can no longer be separated when under load. The device-side equivalent should also be approved in a next step. Efforts are currently being made to create solutions for DC plug connections on the previous AC standard IEC 60320.
Comparison AC vs DC architecture
The DC power architecture contains significantly fewer components than that of alternating current. According to calculations and studies by, for example, ABB, Amstein + Walthert or Stulz, by eliminating various transformations and conversions there is already an increase in efficiency of 10 % from the supply to the server. In terms of investment costs for the electrical infrastructure, one should work off the basis of a reduction of around 15 %. Less space is also required for the electrical infrastructure. In fact, considerably less. 25 % should be expected.
Fewer components are installed quicker. Fewer components are serviced faster and cause fewer errors. This makes them more reliable and therefore cheaper. Both in terms of the purchase and the maintenance. According to a study conducted by NTT (Nippon Telegraph and Telephone), the reliability is expected to increase tenfold due to the system being less complex!
The approach of providing a data center with DC voltage is obvious. If the server is already working off DC power, it makes sense to continue using it as consistently as possible throughout the chain.
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