Although it has been far too long since I have posted to this blog due to my travel schedule I have some news to share.
Over the last few days (Oct. 1 & 2) we have been participating in the Industry Advisory Board ("IAB") meeting of the NSF-I/UCRC ES2 ("National Science Foundation-Industry/University Cooperative Research Centers Energy Smart Electronic Systems") research consortium. That mouthful of letters represents a group of universities and companies whose expressed goal is to reduce the energy consumption of data centers by 20-35%.
The consortium is currently working on fourteen research projects and Mestex serves as an advisor ("mentor") on three of those projects. Two of the projects that Mestex is mentoring cover research on evaporative and fresh air cooling of data centers and a second project on contaminants in data centers that use fresh air cooling. As you might guess, the project on evaporative and fresh air cooling offers the greatest opportunity for the consortium to reach the stated goals. In order to support that research, Mestex has installed a small data pod at it's facility in Dallas and is cooling that data pod with a commercially available Aztec ASC-5 unit. The ASC-5 has built-in DDC controls that facilitate the use of multiple temperature and humidity sensors for control without any special modifications. The controls also include a provision for pressure sensing control and that is also implemented in this case.
In addition to the data that is presented by the standard Aztec DDC controls there are additional thermocouples and sensors installed that are streaming data to researchers at the University of Texas at Arlington.
One of the most critical considerations that prevents many data center operators from reducing their energy consumption by huge amounts is the reluctance to introduce outside air to the facility. The second Mestex project is focused on that research and we were fortunate to have the input of one of the world's experts on contamination control provide test coupons and laboratory analysis of the results. Dr. Prabjit "PJ" Singh, of IBM, provides guidance and analysis to companies around the world and is a major source of information for the ASHRAE TC 9.9 committee on data center cooling. Dr. Singh, Dr. Dereje Agonafer from the University of Texas at Arlington, and several members of the NSF IAB toured the Mestex facility at the conclusion of the meetings this week.
Drs. Singh and Agonafer are shown here learning about the technology behind the patented "Digital High Turndown Burner" that was developed at Mestex. Jim Jagers, Mestex Sales Manager, conducted the tour and provided a "deep dive" into how this unique technology works before the group proceeded to the research data pod for additional discussions.