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Alexis Kuperfis presents the future fuel cell-powered Data Centers

Rédigé le Vendredi 29 Mai 2020 à 16:00 | Lu 115 fois | 0 commentaire(s)

Data centres are an increasingly vital component of today's digital economy. From cloud computing to communications to finance, countless industries rely on data centers to provide a centralized facility for computing practices, including the storage, management and transmission of data.

 Of course, to provide 24/7/365 services, these data centers require significant energy resources! Hence the increasing use of fuel cells! To find out more, here is an analysis on this subject by Alexis Kuperfis.

Fuel cells: how to meet a growing energy need?

Growing demand for telecommunications and IT capabilities has created a need for reliable data management and, with it, a market opportunity for fuel cells. Fuel cells, alone or in combination with other technologies, can offer exceptional reliability. Once installed, they can produce electricity at a lower cost than the power grid, an advantage that is incredibly useful in an uncertain energy world, according to Alexis Kuperfis.
The clean, reliable and scalable production of fuel cells is an attractive option for data centres to meet energy demand as well as sustainability goals. Fuel cells are part of ongoing efforts to reduce the environmental and climate impact of data centers with low or zero emissions depending on the fuel source. A fuel cell system can even be used to heat or cool the data centre to maintain the right climatic conditions to maximize server efficiency, while increasing overall system efficiency.

High-tech big players take on fuel cells

Because of their extremely high reliability, when eBay opened its data centre in Salt Lake City, Utah in 2013, they chose to use 6 megawatts of Bloom Energy fuel cells as the facility's primary power source, with the power grid used only as backup. In 2015, eBay added an additional 3.75 MW of Bloom fuel cells, for a total of 9.75 MW. By using Bloom fuel cell systems, eBay has eliminated the need for large and expensive back-up generators and has significantly reduced facility emissions.
Microsoft is also exploring the use of fuel cells for its energy-intensive data centre operations. The IT giant is currently demonstrating the use of fuel cells directly integrated into its server racks in Seattle, as the world's first gas-fired data centre. This pilot project connects the racks directly to natural gas lines to power its integrated fuel cells, rather than using traditional electrical appliances. Microsoft says this distributed power architecture could double the energy efficiency of its data centres, while reducing costs and improving reliability.
The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Colorado, U.S.A., is also exploring fuel cells as a solution to overcome the challenges of sustainable, energy-efficient data centers. Last year, NREL announced that it was working with HP Enterprise, Daimler, Microsoft and Power Innovations on a proof-of-concept demonstration using a hydrogen fuel cell to power the lab's data center. The demonstration includes a 65-kilowatt automotive hydrogen fuel cell, supplied by Daimler, that will be deployed in NREL's high-performance computing data centre. The fuel cell, powered by hydrogen produced by the lab, will provide high-voltage DC power directly to two or three racks of computer equipment supplied by HPE and Intel. The computing equipment, representing both HPC and Cloud computing components, will run on workloads provided by Microsoft.

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