Development of a next-generation fuel cell platform
14 December 2021 –
The development and demonstration of a resilient data center power supply using fuel cells is the goal of the current EU research project “EcoEdge PrimePower” (E2P2). The partners of the E2P2 consortium, aim to develop, validate, build, integrate, test and operate a fuel cell demonstrator that can power a data center as a primary power source. This must meet the stringent requirements of data center operators in terms of cost-effectiveness and availability.
A consortium of seven companies—Equinix, InfraPrime, RISE, Snam, SolidPower, TEC4FUELS and Vertiv—will explore an innovative integration of solid-oxide fuel cells (SOFC) with uninterruptible power supply (UPS) technology and lithium-ion batteries to provide resilient and clean primary power to data center deployments and other critical infrastructure. Implementing natural gas SOFC as a prime power application will be instrumental to pave the way for the use of green hydrogen for fuel cells application, for both backup and prime power systems.
Alternative power supply for data centers
Fuel cells are recognized as a cleaner and quieter power solution that can alleviate demand on urban power grids. They can be deployed on-site at a data center campus, and operate using natural gas, biogas, LPG or green hydrogen—which can be transported and distributed over existing gas networks.
Since there are no standards yet for on-site power generation in data centers, the consortium aims to develop an authoritative open standard. This could pave the way for the commercialization of fuel cell power for data centers in Europe and demonstrate the industry’s potential role in meeting EU CO2 reduction targets. The European Commission is supporting the research project with EUR 2.5 million.
Dr. Klaus Lucka, Managing Director, TEC4FUELS:
“TEC4FUELS is a competence center for sustainable liquid and gaseous energy carriers (fuels) and operating fluids in technical systems. For the operation of the fuel cells, the company contributes its know-how to the research project: in the supply and purification of the process gas medium and water. In addition, TEC4FUELS is developing a sensor-based fluid condition monitoring system to monitor gas and water quality. The aim is to help reduce system-related greenhouse gas emissions by optimizing the operational reliability and service life of technical components and increasing the efficiency of this subsystem.”