Berkeley, California [RenewableEnergyAccess.com] Using direct current (DC) to power large, inefficient data centers could result in 15% energy savings at many sites and lead to wider adoption of distributed renewables that generate DC power, according to a researcher at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL).A new study to be released by the Berkeley National Lab and the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) in the coming weeks shows that DC power distribution for data centers is practical and could save the U.S. $1 billion in power savings annually. “We assembled a team of industry folks including Intel, Sun Microsystems, Cisco and so forth to work on this problem, said project leader Bill Tschudi, speaking on RenewableEnergyAccess.com’s Inside Renewable Energy podcast. “What we found during the pilot demonstration [at Sun Microsystems] was that we were measuring in the rate of 10-15% energy savings when compared against a traditional AC system. But we found out near the end of our study that we were actually comparing against a very efficient AC system,” Tschudi said. Because the servers in these data centers run off DC power, there are multiple conversions from AC to DC and back and forth, which results in massive energy losses. If the centers were powered by DC, there wouldn’t need to be so many conversions. Also, it would increase the viability of using distributed renewables that generate DC power at these centers. “If there were wider adoption of this technology it would be easy to integrate other renewable sources into the distribution scheme. If it were easy to switch between a PV source and the grid without any additional conversion losses, that would be very attractive,” said Tschudi. Want to learn more about the implications of this study? Listen to the Inside Renewable Energy podcast linked below.