Custodian selects Aqua as its cooling partner for new Dartford site


UK colocation provider, Custodian Data Centres, has enlisted Aqua to design, supply, and install an innovative temperature-controlled cooling system at their new 10MW site located in Dartford, Kent.

With Custodian’s Maidstone facility nearing capacity, the company has commissioned its new ‘DA2’ facility in Dartford, Kent, to meet the continued growth demands of its customers. Less than 15 miles outside of Central London, Custodian’s goal was to provide an advanced facility for end-users to relocate and host their mission-critical applications. The new site is carrier-neutral, operating at a PUE rating of below 1.3 and powered by resilient, 100 per cent dual diverse renewable energy feeds.

Aqua were tasked with delivering a highly energy-efficient, bespoke, closed-loop air cooling system with integrated free cooling. The design for Custodian’s DA2 includes 12 custom-designed cooling coils and a free cooling chilled water system, comprising three 500kW Aqua EcoPro+ optimised free cooling chiller units, to accommodate for the initial phase of the site opening. The EcoPro+ units operate on R454B green refrigerant.

According to the press release accompanying the announcement, utilising integrated free-cooling chillers drastically reduces the amount of time mechanical cooling is required, saving significantly on energy usage, carbon impact, and wear and tear of component parts, in particular the compressor.

Callum Woodhouse, M&E Manager at Custodian Data Centres, said: “With the new DA2 Dartford site boasting a 10MW capacity, we needed a reliable cooling system that could handle the increased demands from the bigger site. Aqua’s bespoke energy-efficient systems and esteemed trusted experts mean our customer’s data remains protected and running at optimised efficiency.

“Their sustainability commitments align with our overall company goals in reducing our carbon footprint, whilst providing a cost-effective and reliable solution for our customers. As our customer base continues to grow and expand over time, this Aqua solution allows us to adapt to the additional demands, in a seamless and efficient way”.

Aqua’s solution also consists of a fully concurrent maintained pipework system, which is integral to the design, ensuring no single point of failure, something which is essential in the data centre industry. In fact, a part of the pipework can be removed without affecting the normal facility operations. N+1 capability was built-in on the mechanical equipment, including fans, coils, and pumps, this gives the facility full redundancy, in the unlikely event that a fault should ever occur, DA2 can continue to operate whilst maintenance is undertaken.

Mike West, Contracts Director at Aqua, explained: “Custodian’s commitment to energy efficiency is evident throughout their data centre facilities and it was critical that the DA2 site needed to mirror the energy efficiencies achieved at Maidstone. Reducing carbon footprint for end-user clients – with lower operating costs – were key drivers in this project. Maidstone uses five times less energy per kW of IT load than an average data centre – a challenge we were more than happy to accept and believe we have exceeded.”

Based on 500kW of cooling, the system is expected to use 106,766kwhrs/year. In comparison, a traditional chiller system would utilise in the region of 1,095,000kwhrs – resulting in a saving of over 90 per cent. The system is also future-proofed, with the option for expansion into higher density cooling further down the line, as Custodian continues to grow and expand.

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