PHOTO: Michael Green, director of energy management at UT, gives a tour inside the modular power system outside UT’s Computer Center. Toledo Free Press Photo by Duane Ramsey

The following, written by Duane Ramsey  appeared December 5, 2013 on Toledo Free Press.
Read below, or view on the Toledo Free Press website.

The ReliaFlex Advanced Power System installed at University of Toledo’s Computer Center is providing a “green data center” that has already saved UT $1,000 in the first three weeks of operation.

The modular power system was dedicated with a ribbon-cutting ceremony Dec. 3 by officials from UT and GEM Energy of Walbridge which designed and installed it.

The innovative system that is only the second of its kind in the nation and first in Ohio will significantly reduce UT’s carbon footprint and increase its electric reliability, according to sources at GEM and UT.

“This project is the result of a truly remarkable collaboration with the University of Toledo,” said Hussein Shousher, president of GEM Inc.

“It exemplifies the collaboration to make this kind of perfect project work as the University of Toledo strives to advance alternative energy research and commercialization. It puts us on the map as a global university,” said Dr. Lloyd Jacobs, president of UT.

The gas turbine-based power system installed is generating high-quality electricity required to operate the data center that is equivalent to the electrical needs of 52 homes and to removing 287 automobiles from the nation’s highways, said Hussein.

The modular power system consists of four Capstone hybrid micro turbines, a Thermax USA exhaust fired chilled water module with hot water output, special environmental systems for hot and cold climate operation, and an external battery for 10 minutes of electricity.

“It can recover energy that comes off the turbines in direct exhaust stream into the absorption chiller that is used to cool the data center and produce hot water to heat the pool in the (nearby) recreation center, said David Blair, senior vice present at GEM Energy.

The micro-turbine based system eliminates the need for an emergency generator because it is powered by Ohio natural gas rather than electricity for enormous energy savings, according to Blair.

We need to burn fossil fuels as efficiently as possible using all forms of energy technology. 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,” Shousher said.

The ReliaFlex modular power system was designed and assembled at GEM’s shop, transported to UT’s main campus on a large flatbed trailer and installed at the data center. The project took approximately two years from concept through completion, Blair said.

All components of the integrated power system are contained in a pre-engineered package that can be shipped anywhere and connected to existing infrastructure, Blair explained.

GEM developed and commercialized the ReliaFlex system using a $1 million loan from the Ohio Third Frontier program. The company designed and implemented the power system at Syracuse University’s Data Center in conjunction with IBM in 2010.

“Ohio is investing in technology while creating jobs. This collaboration makes us a leader in advanced energy and Toledo a destination for innovation, research and commercialization,” David Goodman, director of the Ohio Development Services Agency and chair of the Ohio Third Frontier Commission, stated in a press release about the green data center project at UT.

Ohio Third Frontier provides funding to technology-based companies, universities, nonprofit research institutions and other organizations to create new products, companies, industries and jobs.

GEM Energy, one of the Rudolph/Libbe Companies, provides comprehensive energy services and technology to increase the efficiency and reduce the operating costs for commercial, industrial, institutional and mission critical facilities.