Equinix: Equinix tests hydrogen fuel cell power

Sep 30, 2022 | Posted by MadalineDunn

Equinix is the latest company in the industry to trial hydrogen fuel cells as a power source for data centers. The company will be working in partnership with the Centre for Energy Research & Technology (CERT) under the National University of Singapore's (NUS) College of Design and Engineering to launch the "world's first" research project comparing the efficiency of proton-exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cells and fuel-flexible linear generator technologies. This research project is part of the company's wider pledge to advance the sustainability of the industry and reach its climate-neutral targets. 

Equinix has outlined that PEM fuel cells are now a leading contender for hydrogen energy, and said that fuel-flexible linear generators enable operators to easily switch between various clean fuel options, including hydrogen, biogas, and various renewable liquid fuels.

"Data centers serve as the conduit powering the digital economy, and greening their operations can drive the rise of sustainable business throughout the broader economic landscape," said Yee May Leong, Managing Director, South Asia, Equinix. "Working with like-minded partners like the Centre for Energy Research & Technology at NUS empowers us with the combined experience and expertise to advance the growth of digital economies in line with environmental obligations, benefiting the data center industry, global economies, and the planet."

Associate Professor Lee Poh Seng, Director, Centre for Energy Research and Technology, NUS College of Design and Engineering, commented: "Sustainability is a key pillar of the global economy. To complement the efforts made by the public sector, timely progress also requires collaboration with stakeholders in the private sector and academia. We are keen to work with industry partners like Equinix, which is known for its sustainability efforts and provides us access to a global network of data centers that can serve as a testbed for a more accurate assessment of operational viability. Through this partnership, we look forward to playing a driving role for green data center innovations that can be applied in Singapore and globally."

According to Equinix, the project will look into the suitability of these technologies for tropical datacenters at first, factoring in local climate conditions, site constraints, power demand, supply chain, fuel storage capabilities, and regulatory policies, with a long-term goal of adapting them for use in Equinix's global network.