Case study: Euro-Diesel

Power outages can be disastrous in situations where lives and sensitive information are put at risk – Euro-Diesel has the solution

With the surge in data generation taking place, the need for data management will only rise, so more data centres will be required and the co-location sector will continue to grow. A co-location centre is a data facility in which a business can rent space for servers and other computing hardware.

An increase in outsourcing followed the global financial crisis as enterprises, particularly smaller ones, struggled to support their own data centres for cost reasons and cost is still largely the driver for growth in the sector today. In addition, the exponential rise of big data, combined with a closer focus on the environmental impact, has seen the co-location sector booming and the trend looks only to be moving in one direction.

With Euro-Diesel’s clients ranging from data centres to hospitals, from security trading floors to air traffic control, the importance of a constant power supply is clear

One beneficiary of this trend is Euro-Diesel, a leading provider of Diesel Rotary Uninterruptable Power Supply (DRUPS) systems.

While co-location is its key growth driver, Euro-Diesel is also benefiting from the increasing unreliability of the grid, not only in developing markets, but in developed markets, such as the United States, where some infrastructure is ageing. In parts of Europe, the rise of renewables, such as wind energy, is creating more fluctuation in the grid.

With Euro-Diesel’s clients ranging from data centres to hospitals, from security trading floors to air traffic control, the importance of a constant power supply is clear.

Euro-Diesel’s proprietary DRUPS system is designed to kick in if the main power grid cuts out, providing kinetic energy via a flywheel for a short period, and enabling the diesel engine to start and provide continuous power, if necessary.

In some cases, such a blip might only last for a microsecond, yet its impact can be huge, as Olivier van Riet Paap, director in 3i’s private equity team, based in the Benelux region, points out.

“Take an air traffic control system, for example. It is absolutely vital that it receives constant power. Euro-Diesel, as a provider of alternative constant power in the event that the grid fails, is responsible for that continuity,” he says.

He recalls how several years ago, even a momentary power outage could cause havoc, costing millions, or in a worst-case scenario, lives.

He highlights three key criteria clients consider when evaluating an uninterrupted power system solution: reliability, efficiency and the environment.

These days, the proprietary software behind Euro-Diesel’s DRUPS system has been significantly improved and can rapidly assess whether an outage is just a blip or whether the grid is expected to be out for longer. Historically, a diesel engine was started for most outages. However, now, thanks to improved software, many short outages can be covered by kinetic energy from the flywheel, avoiding the need to start the diesel engine. This clearly has significant benefits in terms of improved cost efficiency and environmental impact.

The mind may boggle at the enormity of today’s data generation, its pace of growth and the challenges that brings, yet where we cannot afford to lose our heads is over guarantees of power. As Euro-Diesel stands today, it recognises a fairly recent challenge. For the data centre and therefore the co-location provider of tomorrow, power guarantees underpin their entire business model. For all parties involved, such assurance is paramount.

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