Power Management Tool for Energy-Efficient, "Green" Data Centers

Technology #14608

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Researchers
Tao Li
Chao Li
Managed By
Richard Croley
Assistant Director 352-392-8929
Patent Protection
US Patent Pending US-2016-0013652-A1

Reduces Carbon Dioxide Emissions for Environmentally Friendly Computing

This power management tool makes data centers more environmentally friendly by ensuring that available power and computing loads are in alignment. Data centers are temperature-controlled facilities that house computer systems and components, including servers, power supplies, backup power equipment, chillers, cables, fire and water detection systems, and security controls. All major companies, universities, banks and government institutions have data centers that store information and maintain their computer networks. A single large data center’s energy usage can exceed 30 megawatts (i.e. 30 million joules per second), comparable to the energy usage of a small town. It is estimated that carbon dioxide emissions from computing systems will reach 1.54 metric gigatons by 2020, which would make information technology companies the largest contributors to greenhouse emissions. Available power management schemes adapt computer loads to the time-varying power budget, causing slow job turnaround time and poor service availability. Researchers at the University of Florida have developed a power-management tool that employs a power demand shaping (PDS) technique using load following (online power generation for tracking changes in customer loads) to meet time-variable power demands in distributed generation (DG) systems.

Application

A power management tool that controls available power and power consumption in distributed generation (DG) systems, restricting power or providing burst of energy as needed for energy-efficient data centers

Advantages

  • Takes advantage of the load following capabilities of DG systems, avoiding performance costs associated with supply tracking
  • Uses energy generated on-site, improving efficiency
  • Leverages renewable energy, reducing the use of fossil fuels and curbing carbon emissions from data centers

Technology

This power management tool, developed by UF researchers, employs load following and distributed generation (DG) to achieve power demand shaping (PDS), which helps meet power demands that vary over time. Load following refers to the use of online power generation equipment to track changes in customer’s needs for computing power. By leveraging the load following capability of onsite renewable generation, this device lowers carbon emissions while maintaining sufficient performance. The device can be implemented as a cross-layer power management module between a front-end distributed generation system and a back-end computing facility to provide coordinated tuning between supply and load. The technology has applications in DG-powered data centers, DG-powered cloud computing infrastructures and other green/sustainable facilities.