Emerson launches a test-drive 400V DC system for data centers

Makes proof-of-concept easier with low-cost commercial-grade UPS

4 October 2012 by Yevgeniy Sverdlik - DatacenterDynamics

Emerson launches a test-drive 400V DC system for data centers
Emerson’s NetSure 4015 400V DC power solution for data centers

Emerson Network Power announced its first fully certified commercial-grade 400V DC (direct current) power solution for data centers, albeit a small-caliber one best-suited for testing the still-controversial approach to powering data center equipment by bringing high-voltage DC power to IT power supplies.

The approach reportedly saves a lot of energy that a traditional low-voltage AC (alternating current) power distribution system loses during the many conversion stages power goes through before making it to the IT equipment.

While there are few people who deny the energy savings of high-voltage DC systems, data center operators in general have been reluctant to adopt the commercial solutions available on the market, choosing instead the tried-and-true conventional electrical systems.

Emerson’s new NetSure 4015 DC power system is another attempt to convince the market that high-voltage DC power has a future in the data center.

“This particular system that’s available today is more of an initial trial-type system,” Mark Murrill, senior marketing manager of Emerson’s 400V DC power initiatives, said. “It’s an opportunity for end-users to actually get their hands on a commercial system.

While the system is highly configurable, it provides 30kW of power at full capacity. “In the future, obviously, we’ll offer larger systems,” Murrill said.

The solution consists of Emerson’s patented eSure AC-to-DC rectifiers – they convert three-phase AC input to DC output from 335V to 400V – a main power-and-control sub-rack, optional output breaker sub-racks and battery backup trays.

At full 30kW, the batteries provide between one and 15 minutes of ride-through time. It can run on batteries up to 40 minutes at 15kW capacity, Murrill said.

If high-voltage DC power starts to gain traction in the data center market, Emerson will have strong competition in the space.

Swiss multinational ABB, for example, has a high-voltage DC product for data centers – technology it gained through acquisition of a specialist in this space called Validus DC. In November 2011, ABB announced a partnership with the data center provider IO to develop modular data centers powered by high-voltage DC.

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