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Tech partnership to develop low-carbon data centre fuel cells

Image: Adobe Stock / Connect world

The EcoEdge PrimePower is aiming to create a next-gen fuel cell platform to enable a greener data centre landscape.

The new EU Clean Hydrogen Partnership will be putting €2.5 million towards funding the venture, which will bring together a consortium of leading industry organisations to research, design and implement low-carbon fuel cells to power data centres.

The EcoEdge PrimePower (E2P2) project hopes to reduce carbon emissions from operations by up to 100%.

Seven companies, including Vertiv, Equinix, InfraPrime, RISE, Snam, SolidPower and TEC4FUELS, will work together to integrate solid-oxide fuel cells with uninterruptible power supply (UPS) technology and lithium-ion batteries to offer clean primary power for mission critical facilities.

The project views the implementation of natural gas solid oxide fuel cells (SOFC) for prime power provision as a stepping stone to wider use of green hydrogen for fuel cell application for both backup and prime power systems.

Fuel cells can be deployed on-site at a data centre campus, and operate using natural gas, biogas, LPG or green hydrogen.

The consortium hopes to introduce an open standard for fuel cell application to enable the commercialisation of fuel cell energy solutions for data centres across Europe.

E2P2 has a variety of environmental objectives, including showcasing a real-world proof of concept of 24/7 low-carbon power which no longer relies on diesel generators and supports the renewable energy economy in Europe.

The goal is to replace traditional power supply and generators currently in place, providing additional redundancies built in to maintain uptime standards.

As part of the project, Vertiv will design an integrated fuel cell power module, which utilises its Liebert EXL S1 UPS and Vertiv HPL lithium-ion batteries.

The company aims to engineer an all-in-one 100 kW module as a proof-of-concept by 2023, with a view to ultimately developing a commercially viable product that can support multiple MWs of critical load.

“Digitalisation and the data centre industry are growing at an increasing pace and thus it is even more vital to fast-track our journey towards an environmentally sustainable future,” said Giordano Albertazzi, president for Vertiv in Europe, Middle East, and Africa.

“This can only be made possible by developing clean, innovative technologies such as fuel cell solutions to provide sustainable power for the digital world. Vertiv is proud to actively contribute to the E2P2 proof-of-concept initiative and looks forward to provide next-generation power solutions to its global customers.”

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