How can data centres become more green? Ludwigsburg District Office asked itself that very question in relation to its in-house data centre. It found its answer with ENGIE Refrigeration. A machine type HHR 130 thermeco2 high-temperature heat pump with refrigeration now provides sustainable server cooling on site.
Energy-efficient, reliable, durable – the requirements for the refrigeration supply in data centres are high. For many operating companies, the topic of sustainability also plays a role. After all, server cooling makes up a significant portion of energy demand and greenhouse gas emissions, which need to be reduced if climate targets are to be achieved. Ludwigsburg District Office has even put this aspect at the top of its agenda. It aims to be climate-neutral from 2025. This includes, for example, producing and consuming its own electricity in future with the help of photovoltaic systems and combined heat and power systems. Naturally, the District Office also has the highest requirements for the refrigeration supply for its in-house data centre. The existing R22 machine was outdated, and no longer met the current requirements for a refrigeration system. That is why the authority decided in the summer of 2019 to choose the thermeco2 high-temperature heat pump with refrigeration from ENGIE Refrigeration. This model is especially eco-friendly, partly because it utilises the natural refrigerant CO2 and partly because it provides cold and heat simultaneously. That means the heat pump not only meets current requirements, but is also an investment in the future by the District Office.
The team at ENGIE Refrigeration will install the new thermeco2 high-temperature heat pump with refrigeration on the administrative campus of Ludwigsburg District Office in March 2021. The machine will then provide base load refrigeration for year-round server cooling and thus ensure the reliable operation of the data centre. This is essential, as the administrative campus of Ludwigsburg District Office is home to almost all the important specialist departments in the Swabian district. Various services for citizens are provided there with the aid of digital tools. As the server racks generate a lot of heat, the refrigeration supply must function smoothly. The thermeco2 ensures this reliably around the clock – even under the particular conditions on site. Ludwigsburg District Office requires heat uncoupling in a challenging temperature range: a high outlet temperature of up to 90 degrees Celsius, and a low inlet temperature of 38 degrees Celsius. While alternative solutions could only achieve this with a great deal of technical and primary energy expenditure, combined heating and cooling with the thermeco2 unfolds its full potential under these conditions. And it does so in an especially eco-friendly way: every year, the new heat pump will save 38.4 tons of CO2 when compared to the existing refrigeration system – fully in line with the sustainability strategy of Ludwigsburg District Office.
But the thermeco2 does even more for Ludwigsburg District Office. It cools the entire administrative building in the summer months and, thanks to its heat recovery function, simultaneously provides heat for heating the building, for heating drinking water and for conditioning the recirculated air in the server rooms. The heat pump uses the natural refrigerant CO2 to do so. It is very safe (safety class A1), non-combustible, non-toxic, and does not contribute to the destruction of the ozone layer or to the greenhouse effect. All this makes this combined heating and cooling especially sustainable, which is why it is subsidised by the state.
In recent months, ENGIE Refrigeration has made fundamental improvements to the series. The thermeco2 now has the following new specifications:
Among other things, these innovations make commissioning simpler, operation even more efficient, and software updates easy to install. Ludwigsburg District Office is already benefiting from all these advantages – and so can all future operating companies that choose a thermeco2 high-temperature heat pump with refrigeration.
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Due to their environmental impact, refrigeration systems and heat pumps have faced increased scrutiny from environmental organisations, governments and the public for some time. Debate has centred on the greenhouse effect of refrigerants, not least because of planned amendments to the F-Gas Regulation, which will make it more stringent. However, the climate relevance of chillers and heat pumps can only be properly assessed with the help of an ecological balance sheet that includes the entire greenhouse effect of the systems. One popular method of holistic ecological assessment is provided by the TEWI value.
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