Decarbonizing Data Centers: Huawei Enables China Unicom Guangzhou to Build Energy-Efficient and Eco-friendly Data Centers
China Unicom's Internet application innovation base is located in China-Singapore Guangzhou Knowledge City situated in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area. This state-of-the-art mobile Internet innovation base is designed around the concepts of intelligent management, green operation, low carbon footprint, safety, and reliability. The total construction area spans approximately 199,100 square meters and involves a three-phase development plan.
In 2015, China Unicom's Internet application innovation base initiated the Internet data center (IDC) project. The first phase of the project aimed to achieve a PUE of 1.44, and was constructed according to GB Class A and Tier 3+ standards. However, with the increasing demand for computing power, data centers' high energy consumption became a significant issue. To address this, China introduced new energy efficiency requirements for data centers. Located in a subtropical region, Guangzhou has a high average temperature and frequent rainfall, and its highest wet-bulb temperature (WBT) in the past 20 years is 29.5°C. These challenges make PUE reduction difficult.
In response, China Unicom Guangzhou has taken an active approach to comply with the national dual-carbon policies by retrofitting the current data center to save energy, improve efficiency, and limit the PUE to below 1.3.
The construction of China Unicom Guangzhou's IDC building is nearing completion, with progress standing at 80%. However, the installation of large electromechanical facilities, including chillers, cooling towers, and transformers, has resulted in the need for significant investment in the reconstruction of the cooling system. To ensure services go online promptly, China Unicom Guangzhou must find a reconstruction solution that is cost-effective and feasible with a short project duration.
Three Strategies for Better Performance
- Huawei's FusionCol8000-C Improves Cooling Efficiency
Cheng Bo, the construction owner of China Unicom Guangzhou's IDC building project, suggested that increasing the temperature of the inlet and outlet water is the most effective way to reduce PUE if the large-capacity electromechanical equipment cannot be reconstructed. To achieve this, the project utilized Huawei's FusionCol8000-C fan wall air conditioners. These air conditioners have several advantages over traditional chilled water air conditioners that supply air from under the floor. For instance, they increase the heat exchange area by over 50% and the air supply volume by more than 40%. Unlike the conventional cold aisle containment, the inlet water temperature is raised from 12°C to 18°C, resulting in a reduction of overall energy consumption by more than 20%.
The FusionCol8000-C use Huawei-developed high-efficiency EC fan AeroTurbo, which delivers 6% higher efficiency than products of its kind and further reduces the energy consumption at the terminal units of the chilled water system. In addition, the fan uses a separate drive architecture in which the fan drive is hot-swappable and can be replaced in just 1 minute without disconnecting the power supply. This feature ensures the reliability of the equipment room and boosts the O&M efficiency.
- S-ECO Improves Power Supply Efficiency
In addition to the cooling system, China Unicom Guangzhou's IDC building also incorporates innovative technologies in its power supply and distribution system to minimize carbon emissions. This project used Huawei's UPS5000-H uninterruptible power system, which features a unique "S-ECO" mode that guarantees 99.1% conversion efficiency, 3 percentage points higher than the industry average of 96%.
S-ECO ensures that the UPS5000-H can switch between modes with 0 ms delay and delivers high efficiency in the full load range. It solves problems such as large harmonics and input surge voltage interference, and implements ultrahigh-efficiency uninterruptible power supply, ensuring reliable and stable service operation.
- AI Optimizes Energy Efficiency
To align with the dual-carbon goals, it is essential to prioritize energy efficiency and emission reduction in data centers. This project implemented the Huawei iCooling@AI energy efficiency optimization solution that leverages AI technology. The AI platform accurately matches the cooling capacity required by IT devices based on factors such as IT power consumption and ambient temperature. This approach significantly reduces the waste of cooling capacity and enables data centers to save power.
Cheng Bo stated, "Our project exceeded the benchmark of green data centers. The PUE test conducted at the CEPREI Laboratory yielded a result of 1.298, which is significantly lower than the average PUE of 1.5 among Guangzhou data centers. This result was obtained under 30% of the full design load."
This project was completed in just 76 days from kick-off to acceptance and delivery, setting a new standard for efficiency. In comparison to other solutions, it is estimated that this solution will save 13.245 million kWh of electricity and reduce carbon emissions by 7695 tons annually.
Looking toward the future, China Unicom Guangzhou is committed to fostering the growth of Guangdong's digital industry by establishing an Internet application innovation base. This platform will offer top-notch information and communication services across various sectors, including government, healthcare, manufacturing, and finance. Additionally, China Unicom Guangzhou will proactively align with national dual-carbon policies, driving continuous breakthroughs and innovation.