Innovation That Matters

Data centres are set to account for 3.2 per cent of worldwide carbon emissions by 2025 | Photo source İsmail Enes Ayhan on Unsplash

Exploring hydrogen power for data centres

Computing & Tech

A research partnership will compare the efficiency of different technologies for powering data centres with hydrogen

Spotted: As the world becomes increasingly reliant on digital data, the demand for data services is rising rapidly. At the same time, there is a growing awareness of the need to reduce carbon emissions in order to address climate change. This has created a challenge for data centre operators, who must find ways to meet the rising demand for data services while reducing their carbon footprint. One possible solution is to use hydrogen as a green fuel source for data centres.

In order to assess the feasibility of this approach, Equinix and the Centre for Energy Research & Technology (CERT) have entered into a research partnership. The partnership will compare the efficiency of proton-exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cells and fuel-flexible linear generator technologies. If successful, this research could help to enable the use of hydrogen as a green fuel source for mission-critical data centre infrastructure.

PEM fuel cells are a leading contender for hydrogen energy and offer many advantages over traditional fossil fuel-based generators, including lower emissions and higher efficiency. In addition, they are well-suited to applications where space is limited, such as in data centres. As for fuel-flexible linear generators, they can enable operators to more easily switch between various clean fuel options. The research will take a deeper look into the suitability of these technologies for tropical data centres, considering variables such as local climatic conditions, power demand, and supply chain.

As the first initiative under the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed earlier this year between the two organisations, the teams are hopeful that their work will pave the way for more efficient and environmentally-friendly data centres in the tropics.

Springwise has spotted several innovations aiming to soften the strain that data centres are already putting on the world’s energy supply. These include a platform that helps organisations monitor and cut emissions from cloud computing and a generator that runs on both hydrogen and ammonia fuel

Written By: Katrina Lane



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