……and the importance of load bank testing and maintenance.
Diesel generators provide a tried and proven alternative source of electrical energy in the event of a mains power failure. In power protection scenarios, they are usually installed with UPS (uninterruptible power supplies) to form a complete protection system. As it takes a while for a generator to start and power up to required load capacity, the UPS is there to support protected loads with battery power until the generator can take over.
Data centres support computer systems and provide data access, computation and hosting for many hundreds and sometimes thousands of customers. If a data centre loses power and suffers downtime – so do its customers! It is even more critical then that in this environment, generators are thoroughly tested, for at least eight hours, under load conditions prior to installation. And there are several things to look out for:
Keeping things cool
The power density within a data centre is often many times greater than it would be in an office of a similar size. Due to the density of computer equipment within, cooling requirements are high. Every 1kW of electricity consumed by each computer requires another 2kW of electricity to keep things cool.
Generator load testing essential
Load testing for generators is essential because most of the time the generator sits idle in situ ready for a mains power failure to engage sophisticated control systems that ensure automatic switch over to standby power. There is no way of knowing, until it happens, without load testing, if the generator will:
a) start up
b) perform and operate correctly when it does, delivering consistent reliable power to maintain servers and ancillary equipment.
But how can you load test a generator without causing disruption and data centre downtime for connected loads?
Ideally, it should be done prior to installation but it can also be done out-of-hours, using load banks to simulate the working load. A load bank is a device that develops an electrical load and applies it to a power source (diesel generator). It can be configured to mimic the operational or ‘real’ load but unlike the real load a load bank provides a contained, organised and controllable load that can be used to test the power source.
Service and Maintenance
Like most engine-based machinery, a generator requires regular and routine service and maintenance, which should also include a full load bank test, to ensure it is kept in pristine condition and that its design life is prolonged.
Riello UPS supplies a range of emergency standby power generators suitable for data centre application from leading manufacturer Elcos Generating Sets. With a small footprint and high fuel efficiency, Elcos generators are ideal for dynamic data centre environments in which space is at the premium and scalability a must. We can also offer a fast lead time and full bespoke build and customisation service, including the construction of shelters, containers and enclosures. Elcos gernators can also be fuelled from bio-fuels. Riello also provides managed maintenance, refuelling and remote monitoring services for Elcos generators.