Microsoft opts for fuel cells

Microsoft has made a strategic decision to use fuel cells to power its server farms and make efficiency gains.
The computer giant believes fuel cells can double energy efficiency at the facilities and is in testing phase at the moment.

Bloomberg reports that the company plans to install a 10 MW fuel cell at a cost of around $45m.
“This technology is very, very disruptive, and we’re investing a lot of time and money into it,” said Sean James, principal research program manager at Microsoft’s R&D program on energy strategy.

“We could almost double the energy efficiency. We’ve been able to model and measure in the lab that with fuel cells.”

Data centers are a good market for fuel cells because of the amount of power they consume. Worldwide, they draw more than 1 percent of the world’s electricity and this is expected to grow with more technologically advanced consumers and proliferation of devices.

Microsoft is also attracted to fuel cells because they are responsible for less greenhouse gases than traditional sources. While it will be using natural gas in its fuel cells at first, it will seek to procure a clean fuel such as hydrogen made from renewable energy in a similar fashion that it signs power purchase agreements with solar and wind developers, James said.à‚ 

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