Kohler Power Weighs in on Alternative Energy Sources for Data Centers

Recently Avery Bell, Engineered Solutions Manager at Kohler Power Systems participated in a JSA virtual roundtable hosted by Jaymie Scotto & Associates (JSA), titled, Exploring Alternative Energy Sources for Data Centers in 2023 and Beyond.

Bell, alongside a group of expert panelists, discussed many subtopics on the current state of data centers and big picture concepts for future shifts that can be made to reduce the carbon footprint they create. The panel used the hour-long discussion to opine about everything from reducing grid dependency and sustainable practices, to carbon elimination tracking and the securement of green bonds. The conversation was robust, comprehensive, and further emphasized Kohler’s commitment to creating a more green-forward future within the industry and their products.

Avoiding Zombieland - Ways to Boost Data Center Efficiency
When asked about reductions in data center energy loss in relation to PDU’s, Bell stressed the importance of identifying wasted watts and commented that, “The most efficient watt is the one that is never used.” He further shared that data centers are often plagued by “zombie servers”- servers and virtual machines that sit idle and are never used for computing but can cause significant energy drain.

To combat the so-called zombies and other energy depleters, Bell proposed the possibility of a shift in philosophy, with data center operators getting a seat at the table with software and tech companies when they are still in the planning stage of concepts they are looking to bring to market. To flip the paradigm of mainstream coding that currently considers power to be infinitely available to where is it finite. This proactive approach would enable all parties to align on capabilities and growth, while also creating a space for all involved to share insights from their respective areas of expertise to ensure that risks are minimized, and growth is optimal.

Keeping Things Cool - Techniques to Reduce Heat and Interference in Data Centers
During the virtual roundtable, panelists also discussed different cooling techniques for data centers and recommendations that can be implemented to minimize heat and interference. To this point, Bell emphasized that containment is essential to ensure that cool air is not being wasted. Additionally, he shared that proper load balancing can also be crucial, especially when other costly alternatives are not an option. Bell explained that data center operators should first look to identify hotspots, then break them up to spread out the workload, creating more of a bathtub effect that minimizes overheating in one particular area of the cold aisle.

The Future of Alternative Energy Sources for Data Centers
So, what does the future look like for alternative energy solutions for data centers?

At Kohler, we believe that change is possible and are putting our ideas into action. We know that there are additional opportunities for data center operators to reduce their carbon footprint and when it comes to back up power, data centers now have the opportunity to explore alternative energy sources. For example, Kohler recently launched its Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO) solution compatible with its generators. This marked a significant breakthrough in the usage of alternative fuels in backup power. This next-generation renewable fuel has all the advantages of a sustainable fuel source, with none of the disadvantages of first-generation biodiesels. It can achieve up to a 90% carbon reduction because it is sourced from organic materials that sequester carbon from the atmosphere and can make use of waste products – making it part of a circular economy.

To view the entire roundtable discussion, Exploring Alternative Energy Sources for Data Centers in 2023 and Beyond, please click here now.


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