Power Continuity – Data Centre Fuel Systems

A Power Continuity back-up generator as part of a data centre’s power continuity system is only as good as the fuel system that supplies it. We design, build and install, anywhere in the UK. Bigger the better, for Data Centres. Once installed what’s next ?

What issues do data centre managers need to bear in mind?

Fuel Tank Size

One of the first considerations is the size of the tank(s), as this will determine the length of time that the generator will provide power in the event of a power outage.

Getting this decision wrong may have serious repercussions.( i.e. over a Bank Holiday )

A tank that sits below the generator is known as a base tank and is especially useful when space is at a premium, with little or no room for a bulk tank. Many generators are supplied with an integral base tank, so you may not have much choice as to its capacity.

However, if sufficient space is available then this can be supplemented by an auxiliary fuel tank to increase the capacity to suit your requirements. Another point to bear in mind is that smaller fuel tanks will require topping up on a more regular basis. We would always suggest at least a 72 hour fuel tank, fully fuelled will provide resilience for a data centre.

Fuel Costs

Power Continuity Generators are powered by red diesel. Due to the volatile nature of fuel prices, it is advisable to get quotes as near as possible to the required delivery date to ensure an accurate and firm price. Fuel can be delivered in different formats: via tanker for larger deliveries or via barrels for smaller deliveries. Bulk tanker deliveries are the most cost-effective option, as the price per litre will be considerably less than fuel delivered in barrels. This highlights the need to choose a larger fuel storage system if fuel costs are a key issue for your organization. However, barrels are useful if a small tank is installed, and the driver will usually top up your tank as part of the delivery service. The bigger the tank, the better fuel cost per litre. Like McDonald’s, always  go large, as far your budget allows.

Maintaining Fuel Quality

You may think that fuel stored in a sealed tank would be free from contaminants, but this is certainly not the case. Water can find its way into the tank and mix with the fuel. Water can cause the inside of the tank to rust, and rust particles will then fall into the fuel. Water can also encourage the growth of microbes, known as ‘diesel bug’. All of these contaminants will have an adverse effect on the generator, decreasing its efficiency and increasing service and maintenance costs.

Fuel testing will identify any or all of the above issues. Cases of severe contamination will require a thorough cleaning process for both the fuel and the storage tank. This can be avoided by means of a scheduled ‘fuel polishing’ programme, which will keep the fuel in good condition and therefore prolong the life of the generator’s filters and other vital components.

Power Continuity installs fuel filtration systems that continuously clean your fuel. These can be fitted new or retro fitted. Eliminate the risk. Your generator is only as good as the fuel

Security

Generator fuel tanks and barrels are frequently targeted by thieves because of the quantities of fuel that they contain. Along with the expense of replacing the fuel, there is often the additional cost of repairing damage to the generator and/or fuel system. To help prevent fuel theft, security options might include the installation of security fencing or a walled enclosure, CCTV, security lighting and an alarm system. Always pad lock it !

Monitoring

A generator may be sat for several months without any call to provide emergency power, but it should still be tested every week OFF load to ensure reliability in the event of an emergency. This weekly testing will, of course, gradually drain the fuel tank(s), so fuel level monitoring should be part of the weekly test to make sure sufficient fuel is always available.

Also test the generator every 4 weeks ON load and let it run for an hour holding up the building load.

There is no better regime than to test weekly and monthly. Keep a written record

Before planning any data centre power infrastructure, call Power Continuity for free advice.

Power Continuity are the specialists when it comes to 100% No Break Power Continuity

Call us on 0845 055 8455  We’re here to help

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