Our PSNC partner Ariel Oleksiak has written an article on the use of CATALYST at the Poznan Supercomputing and Networking Center in Poland.

Poznan Supercomputing and Networking Center (PSNC) operates one of national HPC centers. Running large-scale scientific simulations or meeting demands of researchers and industry to process great data volumes require significant amounts of energy. PSNC DC has the current power capacity of 2 MW being currently extended due to the installation of new systems (with the possibility to extend the supplied power up to 16 MW). Due to large energy costs and high thermal and power density of HPC systems, a reduction of energy consumption and its optimized management is of high interest.

Part of the PSNC CATALYST Pilot


To cope with high energy costs and environmental impact PSNC pays a special attention to efficiency of its DC. HPC systems are cooled using liquid (the so called Direct Liquid Cooling, DLC) and generated heat is re-used in PSNC offices. Thanks to these approaches a Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) is below 1.3 and emissions related to heating are reduced. In addition to the production data center PSNC uses a micro data center to test various technologies and perform experiments to validate new innovative solutions.

In CATALYST, the PSNC team is using the project tools to perform further steps towards optimized energy management. To this end it tests the possibility to provide flexibility by reducing power usage on demand (also with the use of renewable energy) and to analyze possibility of the waste heat re-use outside PSNC. The trial site of the PSNC pilot consists of 2 parts. The first is a micro data centre laboratory that enables execution of trials with a full control of the infrastructure and possibility to measure impact on the whole system. The second consists of the data coming from the whole main PSNC data centre and nearby University campus to study heat re-use scenarios.

In micro data center (whose virtual model with simulated temperatures is shown below) we have performed tests of electrical flexibility. Experiments showed that depending on the application type and the available resources it is possible to cap the power usage of servers and/or shift part of the load, which leads to the reduction of the current power usage even by around 20-30% and saving around 8-15% of energy by proper performance settings adjustments. Additionally, increasing cooling settings from 18°C to 21°C resulted in increasing the serves power usage by 2%. On the other hand, we observed corresponding power savings on cooling. Both values are roughly consistent with  2% leakage power increase for the processor and 4-5% of power savings on cooling per °C temperature increase. In general, for most of the typical system’s loads, it is possible to save up to 50% of cooling power by increasing the temperature settings (while having the 8% increase in servers’ power).

PSNC is located next to the campus of Poznań University of Technology (PUT) that includes many buildings with significant heating demands. The excess waste heat from a data center can be re-used by the campus buildings. Within CATALYST this possibility was studied.

After analysis of several factors, like district heating network temperatures, building space heating and domestic hot water preparation energy consumption, power and temperature levels as well as district heating network topology within Poznan University of Technology (PUT) campus boundary, a concept of the heat re-use was proposed. The heating networks of PUT campus, including a new loop between buildings are presented below.



Currently, CATALYST software is applied to the PSNC pilot to analyse results of trials for specific CATALYST scenarios: (i)  reducing power usage (delivering flexibility) by the management of load and servers, and the use of renewable energy, (ii) Migrating load from distributed Qarnot data center, and (iii) Analysis of the heat re-use potential with respect to the external buildings and integration with heat distribution network. The final outcomes will appear at the CATALYST blog soon!

At a glance

  • No: 768739
  • Acronym: CATALYST
  • Title: Converting data centres in energy flexibility ecosystems
  • Starting date: October 1, 2017
  • Duration in months: 36
  • Call identifier: H2020-EE-2017-RIA-IA
  • Topic: EE-20-2017; Bringing to market more energy efficient and integrated data centres