Optimal design of data center cooling systems concerning multi-chiller system configuration and component selection for energy-efficient operation and maximized free-cooling

Howard Cheung, Shengwei Wang

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


The large data center electricity consumption is a growing global concern. To be environment-friendly and to enhance energy efficiency in operation, data center cooling systems adopt a variety of advanced cooling and renewable energy technologies such as free cooling. However, these free cooling systems are not optimally designed in field practices, and their energy efficiencies are much lower than that of the ideal case. In this study, optimal designs in water piping, pumps and equipment sequencing control are introduced to maximize the cooling efficiency of free cooling systems. It finds that the use of distribution headers around cooling towers and pumps, the maximization of the number of operating cooling towers, the minimization of the number of operating pumps and the mixed use of large and small single-speed pumps can reduce the system's power consumption by 60% under certain operating conditions. The results also show that the designs can reduce the annual energy consumption by 3–15% depending on the climate conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1717-1731
Number of pages15
JournalRenewable Energy
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2019


  • Data center cooling
  • Energy efficiency
  • Free cooling
  • Optimal control
  • Optimal design

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment

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