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With more than 15 years of extensive experience with data centres, Mr. Janjoris van der Lei opened the 3 storey 5.600 m2 data center DCO2 in Belgium in 2011.
DCO2 was originally cooled by a free cooling system using cold water from a water reservoir to cool the supply air via a coil. This system was designed by van der Lei himself who was also in charge of the advanced biometric palm vein access control system used by customers costsentering the facility.
The original free cooling system worked with a very low PUE but problems with dust soon became a challenge. Pollution from the surrounding farmland caused a very frequent replacement of filters. In fact, a more extensive filtration was needed causing higher pressure drop and increased fan power.
Surfing the Internet, van der Lei came across Munters’ OASISTM Indirect Evaporative Cooling (IEC) System that uses a corrosion-resistant polymer heat exchanger to produce dry and cool air. The OASISTM IEC principle has been a proven and extremely successful technique for cooling of data centres in the US for a number of years already. An extraordinary energy efficient and award winning technique now being launched in Europe. Being located close to Munters' European manufacturing site for OASISTM IEC, Mr. van der Lei was tempted by the solution and vicinity to local service and support.
Since July 2012, the data center has been cooled by Munters OASISTM IEC and commissioning the system just before a severe heat wave hit Belgium, offered a perfect chance to prove the systems capabability. Around the year the temperature in the datacenter has to be kept at 22°C and running smoothly during the hot summer the OASISTM IEC fully met the expectations.
The water used for cooling the polymer heat exchanger of the OASISTM IEC system in the “wet summer mode” is supplied from a 4 mio. liter rainwater buffer tank. An ecological solution supporting the sustainable philosophy of the company. While the outdoor temperatures lowered later on the year the system was switched to the “dry mode” where the cooling of the heat exchanger is performed solely by outdoor air running in a closed loop, never entering or mixing up with the air cooling the datacenter facilities.
As DCO2 is run as a privately held and minor company with 15 employees, it benefits from a high degree of independence, flexibility and an ability to react and act instantaneously. Unlike bigger companies with more rigid structure and budget processes van der Lei is able to minimize CAPEX by extending the datacenter only while growing rather than finalizing it all at the same time. When fully extended, DCO2 will hold 1500 racks expecting a cooling need of 5 MW. So far 15% of the data center space is filled and with only one OASISTM IEC system in operation the former full free cooling system is kept for redundancy. The data center is expected to be fully saturated in 4-5 years from now.
The customers today are ranging from local shop keepers to big financial institutes, retail organisations and Belgian schools. Belgian customers who appreciate the physical vicinity of the data center. Apart from the vicinity, the reliable and energy efficient operation, DCO2 also benefits from being a carrier neutral data center, placed exactly on the Internet connection line from London to Frankfurt. That secures a fast, cheap and secure connection.