An information technology (IT) container needs to be supplied with cold air to cool IT equipment housed in it. The type of cooling system to be used depends on many factors including geographical location of the modular data center. Data centers located in regions where the climate is cold benefit from use of air-side economization (ASE) and those located in hot and dry climate benefit from use of direct and/or indirect evaporative cooling (DIEC) systems. In terms of energy saving, ASE, direct evaporative cooling (DEC) system, and indirect evaporative (IEC) systems are better than compressor based cooling systems such as computer room air conditioning (CRAC) units and air handling units (AHU).

In this study, an existing DIEC unit which can also be operated in ASE mode is modeled in a computational fluid dynamics (CFD) tool. The cooling unit is intended to be used for supplying cold air to a containerized data center with specified volume flow rate, dry-bulb temperature and relative humidity. The CFD model is compared with published data of the cooling unit to see how well the CFD model represents the actual system and few design improvement ideas are tested by modifying the CFD model and running simulations. Results show that supplying air horizontally or as a downdraft to an IT container has negligible effect on the overall system. Results also show that orientation of dampers and placement of blanking panels inside the mixing chamber could affect the lifespan of air filters.

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