Good practices: Aquifer Thermal Energy Storage

Aquifers (subterranean bodies of water) are very suitable to store heat or cold. In the summer the cool groundwater can be used to cool buildings, while the warm water is stored underground for use in the winter.

 

Smart energy systems

Data centers have high cooling demand throughout the year. Consequently, ensuring cooling continuity is their primary priority. By optimizing the temperature in the data room, a substantial part of the total cooling demand can be satisfied via free cooling. Especially in the Netherlands, additional cooling capacity is only required during a small part of the year. This can be achieved with an energy storage system, which accumulates the surplus of free cooling in the winter in an underground storage facility so that it can be delivered when high temperatures occur in the summer. This concept makes it possible to achieve low overall annual Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) values.

An aquifer thermal energy storage (ATES) system may also be connected with nearby buildings to form a closed-loop heating grid where waste heat from the data centre is being reused by the former’s facilities.

The main advantage of an ATES system is that it can also act as a preferential emergency cooling system at any time of the year. This is because cooling can always take place based on the natural temperature in the underground storage facility. Furthermore, this type of emergency cooling also requires significantly less emergency power than traditional chillers. As such, an interesting advantage of preferred emergency cooling through ATES is that there is more electricity available for the floor since in that case peak demand from the grid is less. This means more capacity for the actual business is therefore available. Start-up is also much faster.

 

Good Practice provided by participants and partners of the Green IT Amsterdam Consortium

 

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Jaak Vlasveld
Jaak Vlasveld

I am Director at Green IT Amsterdam. Feel free to contact me via jvlasveld@greenitamsterdam.nl.