A new report released on November 30, 2011 announced that fuel cells are now available to power your data center. A fuel cell provides power by converting chemical energy into electricity by means of a chemical reaction. Fuel cells are used in many industrial and commercial industries, but using them in Data centers is a new concept.
Why Fuel Cells?
For data centers who want to be known as environmentally friendly then using fuel cells could be the answer. Fuel cells are much more reliable than using solar or wind power. They are still inexpensive and a great source of an alternative energy supply.
Natural gas fuel cells have been developed by ClearEdge Plus and they are targeting areas where power consumption is high and expensive like California. With demand and price increases no business can afford not to start looking at alternative energy sources. Energy rates in California are in the 17 – 23 cents range per kWh. A natural gas fuel cell could have those costs reduced down to the 9 cent range, a huge savings!
Fuel Cells Have Actually Been Here For Ages!
The idea of using fuel cells in data centers is not new. The concept of using Hydrogen fuel cells has been around for over a decade now. Resistance to these hydrogen cells was mainly due to storage concerns. Data center owners were not comfortable with the thought of storing natural gas on their property. The actual process of drawing power from hydrogen was thought to be messy and using electricity directly was much cleaner and convenient.
As with any process advances in technology have made processes cleaner and easier than ever before. This new technology uses a chemical process to convert the energy into electricity. Basically the hydrogen is split into protons and electrons. The electrons then pass through a circuit which produces the energy.
Benefits of Natural Gas Fuel Cell
The biggest benefit of using natural gas fuel cells is that they are clean running. Even though the initial outlay for the fuel cells is higher than regular batteries the fuel cell has a much longer life span.
Another benefit of using these types of fuel cells is that weigh less than batteries and a generator and make for much easier storage. This could have a huge impact if your data center is located on the upper floors of a high rise building.
For a great example of where fuel cells have been successfully used visit the following link. The First Silicon Valley Company to use Hydrogen Fuel Cell.
For more on environment friendly data centers,please visit Data Center Talk.