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Penn State Researchers Tackle Data Center Power Consumption

A team of engineers at Pennsylvania State University has landed a $1 million grant fro the National Science Foundation for research into reducing power consumption at data centers.

The three-year project, "CSR: Medium: Provisioning and Harnessing Energy Storage for Data Center Demand Response," is a collaboration between the school's Computer Science and Engineering (CSE) and Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering (MNE) departments.

According to information released by the school, data centers account "for 2 percent of the world’s electricity consumption, and 1.5 percent of the global carbon footprint" and their consumption continues to grow.

"In this new project, with an inter-disciplinary expertise spanning computer systems and energy storage  across the CSE and MNE departments, we are in a unique position to explore novel ways of modulating datacenter power demand using energy storage technologies" said Anand Sivasubramaniam, professor of computer science and engineering and lead researcher, in a prepared statement. "Energy storage is already being deployed in datacenters today for providing temporary power during outages, and this project looks to extend their usage for controlling the power demand from the grid. Such control can be useful to under-provision the power infrastructure and reduce power demands during high tariff periods. It can also smoothen the supply vagaries associated with renewable energy sources, which are becoming increasingly popular for datacenters."

About the Author

Joshua Bolkan is the multimedia editor for Campus Technology and THE Journal. He can be reached at jbolkan@1105media.com.

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