Data Center Reduces Energy Usage and Chemical Dosing

Microsand filtration and UV disinfection eliminate continuous chemical dosing while improving energy efficiency of cooling tower


A global hyperscale data center customer was looking to operate their cooling water system without continuous chemical dosing.


Evoqua worked closely with the customer‘s engineering team to find the solution that would best fit their needs. Ultimately, a combination of media filtration and ultraviolet (UV) was selected and installed.

Evoqua‘s Vortisand® microsand media filter technology was chosen for the cooling tower‘s side stream filtration, 5% of total flow. Its unique ability to generate cross-flow patterns across the surface of the media allows for higher filtration rates while preventing fouling and channeling. The backwash cycle requires 40% less water for cleaning compared to other media filters. Fourteen (14) Vortisand VC-50 models, each filtering 50 gpm of water, treat multiple data centers at one facility.

According to ASHRAE Standard 550-98, 0.001" of fouling in cooling towers equals 10% increase in energy consumption. Due to the Vortisand‘s superior performance for submicron filtration, total suspended solids (TSS) of the cooling water has been reduced to 1 mg/L. Less build-up of small particles under 5 micron in size on heat exchanger equipment allows for increased energy efficiency and less maintenance overall. Habitat/food source for Legionella and other harmful bacteria is also significantly reduced.

Finer filtration also enables UV disinfection to do its job more effectively. Particles are not accumulating and blocking the UV from penetrating the microbes.

Evoqua‘s ETS-UVTM disinfection system technology was installed to treat the cooling tower‘s full stream to reduce microbial growth. Less biocide/chemical treatment is necessary as a result. Unlike chemical disinfection systems, organisms do not demonstrate a tolerance or resistance to UV light. Additionally, the water cannot be overdosed.

Indeed, the ETS-UV disinfection system has been so successful that this customer has over 80 UV systems installed at over 30 different data center locations throughout the USA.


The customer has seen dramatic results by combining Vortisand microsand filtration and ETS-UV disinfection including:

  • Payback in 13-16 months
  • 10-17% reduction in energy usage
  • Switch to intermittent biocide (every 13 weeks is typical) and continuous UV disinfection will use 75% less biocide
  • 40% reduction* in water consumption from efficient backwash (*compared to traditional sand filtration)
  • 50% reduction in cooling tower maintenance