Cleaning Up Data Centers with a Fuel Cell

Data centers have now grown into a new nation by themselves. According to a report by Greenpeace in April, the energy consumed to run centers is higher than the annual power consumption of some of the developed nations like Germany and Canada.

There is no doubt that data centers consume a tremendous amount of energy, considering the prevalent energy crisis the world is facing; their dependence on fossil fuels for energy poses a huge threat to human life.

This very threat has forced many at Silicon Valley to go back to their drawing boards and develop alternative solutions to meet the ever growing demand for energy to power data centers. Efficient energy utilization and use of renewable sources to power is the primary objective of the action plan.

Apart from energy crisis being the major issue with data centers, reducing the expenses incurred is also a major objective.

With many diverse problems to be addressed developing an efficient system that addressed all the issues was a herculean task.

The hydrogen fuel cell commercially known as the “Bloom Energy Server” has significantly solved most of the problems that data centers face in terms of energy crisis. Water vapor being the bi-product of the electrolysis process, they have high “green quotient” rating compared to any of the conventional batteries.

Hydrogen fuel cell is predicted to be the environmentally safest energy reservoir for meeting the ever growing energy demands of human world. The operation of a simple hydrogen fuel cell is completely self-sustained. It uses hydrogen and oxygen in their ionic form. A hydrogen fuel cell consists of a solar panel which generates electricity to split the hydrogen atom into H+ ions. These ionic compounds are stored in a separate chamber. Oxygen atoms are also obtained in their ionic state and stored in specially designed chambers. The chemical reaction between the ionic H+ and O2- ions generate electricity with water vapor as the bi-product.

Since water vapor is the bi-product, it causes zero pollution. Hence, it has become one of the most sought after technologies in an energy deprived world.

This technology is not just confined to the Bloom Energy Server, but several automobiles which run on fossil fuels have now switched to hydrogen fuel cells as their energy source. Toyota has pioneered the technology with the launch of green hybrid vehicles which have significantly reduced global warming caused by vehicle emissions. Hydrogen being the primary fuel for powering fuel cells, many developed nations has setup the necessary infrastructure to refill hydrogen gas cylinders, which has only emphasized that this will be The Technology to all the energy deprived nation.

Many organizations have successfully installed the bloom energy server. E-commerce giants such as eBay have successfully transformed their data centers into 100% renewable energy powered centers. Bloom has worked to help Google achieve both its economic and environmental goals, assuring that the 400kW installation on Google’s main campus delivers clean and affordable power. Over the first 18 months the project has had 98% availability and delivered 3.8 million kWh of electricity.

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