Watch out, Google: This Italian datacentre wants to snatch your efficiency crown (gallery)

Watch out, Google: This Italian datacentre wants to snatch your efficiency crown (gallery)

Summary: Italian oil company ENI has just opened a new datacentre that's aiming to beat Google's PUE record. ZDNet went to take a look.


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  • The second and most important pillar is the flues, along with the free cooling system that uses them.

    The air gets in from the lower side of each structure (grey in the picture), is pushed through filters by a system of fans, cools the servers, and is then expelled through the upper part of the flues (also grey). "This direct free-cooling technique means the air conditioners are switched on less than 25 percent of the time," Mazzarelli said.

    Thanks to the fact the flues are located upon a hill, the air's entrance point is 20m above the ground, where levels of particulate matter are lower.

    Image: Raffaele Mastrolonardo/ZDNet






  • ENI calculates that the filtering process (in the picture) removes about 3,000kg of dust per year thus returning a cleaner air to the external environment.  "Everything in our project was designed to achieve maximum efficiency," Mazzarelli said. "That means it was not driven by architects but by plant engineers."

    Image: Raffaele Mastrolonardo/ZDNet




  • An array of fans pulls in the air and pushes it towards the filters. These fans are able to move large quantities of air but at an extremely slow speed (1m to 1.5m per second), which contributes to the efficiency of the whole cooling system.

    "We could not forget any detail. The two biggest server rooms are 1,000 m2 each and need 10MW of power that becomes heat. In order to cool them we had to build the flues in a certain way — the right way," Mazzarelli said.   

    Image: Raffaele Mastrolonardo/ZDNet




Topics: Data Centers, Datacentre Tour, EU

Raffaele Mastrolonardo

About Raffaele Mastrolonardo

Raffaele Mastrolonardo is a journalist and co-founder of effecinque news agency. He has been writing about technology for the past 11 years or so for some of the most important Italian news media.

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1 comment
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  • details

    How exactly supply air is cooled to desired 25°С? Do they use chillers / freon air conditioners and mixing chambers for that purpose? And what about humidity? Ferrera Erbognone is located close to the sea – so there should always be enough moisture. But, in winter the humidity will hover around 100%. So how exactly is it controlled? I thought of dehumidifiers, but they are too energy intensive – not good for PUE.