Green Data Center provides sustainable power to campus

December 16, 2013 | News, UToday
By Meghan Cunningham



A Green Data Center now is fully operational at The University of Toledo with an advanced power system that will help UT reduce its carbon footprint, increase electric reliability, and save energy costs.

President Lloyd Jacob spoke at a recent ceremony to celebrate the Green Data Center, which makes the University Computer Center energy independent while recycling heat generated by the system for the pool in the Student Recreation Center.

President Lloyd Jacob spoke at a recent ceremony to celebrate the Green Data Center, which makes the University Computer Center energy independent while recycling heat generated by the system for the pool in the Student Recreation Center.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held recently for the ReliaFlex Advanced Power System located behind the University Computer Center on Main Campus.

“As The University of Toledo strives to advance alternative energy research and commercialization, it is imperative that we also do what we can to reduce our carbon footprint. This project is an important part of achieving that goal,” UT President Lloyd Jacobs said.

The technology makes the University Computer Center energy independent, ensuring that if there were a blackout, important network services such as email and distance-learning courses would continue uninterrupted. At the same time, the heat generated by this system is recycled to heat the pool in the nearby Student Recreation Center.

The system generates electricity equivalent to the needs of 52 homes while providing cleaner air, the equivalent of removing 287 vehicles from the highway, according to Hussien Shousher, president of GEM Energy, Walbridge, Ohio, which designed, developed and commercialized the ReliaFlex system using a $1 million loan from Ohio Third Frontier.

“We are pleased to deliver this exciting and efficient energy project to The University of Toledo, a leader in alternative energy research and commercialization,” Shousher said. “With the support of the state of Ohio and our key partner, Capstone Turbine Corporation, GEM Energy is proud to build such progressive, energy-saving projects in northwest Ohio.”

The power system has been fully operational for three weeks and already has saved $1,000 with the University’s current historically low energy rates, and officials expect increased savings as rates fluctuate.

The UT Green Data Center is the second of its kind in the nation and the first in Ohio. It includes four C65 Capstone Hybrid Uninterrupted Power System Micro Turbines, a Thermax USA exhaust-fired chilled water module with hot water output, an external battery system for 10 minutes of electricity, and special environmental systems for hot and cold climate operation.

The project is supported by the Ohio Third Frontier of the Ohio Development Services Agency, which provides funding to state technology-based companies, universities, nonprofit research institutions and other organizations to create new products, companies, industries and jobs.

“Ohio is investing in technology while creating jobs,” said David Goodman, director of the Ohio Development Services Agency and chair of Ohio Third Frontier Commission. “This collaboration makes us a leader in advanced energy and Toledo a destination for innovation, research and commercialization.”