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Tech consortium to lead low-carbon fuel cell development for data centres

Vertiv has announced the Clean Hydrogen Partnership will provide €2.5 million to help fund a project developing low-carbon fuel cells to power data centers.

The company hopes this could reduce carbon emissions from operations by up to 100%. The EcoEdge PrimePower (E2P2) project is a new proof-of-concept initiative. It looks to develop and demonstrate low environmental impact fuel cells to provide economic and resilient prime power solutions for the data center environment.

Equinix, InfraPrime, RISE, Snam, SolidPower, TEC4FUELS and Vertiv make up a consortium of seven companies that will explore an innovative integration of solid-oxide fuel cells with uninterruptible power supply (UPS) technology and lithium-ion batteries.

Vertiv says implementing natural gas solid oxide fuel cells (SOFC) as a prime power application will be instrumental in paving the way for green hydrogen for fuel cell application for both backup and prime power systems.

"Digitalisation and the data center industry are growing at an increasing pace, so it's even more vital to fast-track our journey towards an environmentally sustainable future," says Vertiv president for Europe, Middle East, and Africa, Giordano Albertazzi.

"This can only be made possible by developing clean, innovative technologies such as fuel-cell solutions to provide sustainable power for the digital world. Vertiv is proud to actively contribute to the E2P2 proof-of-concept initiative and looks forward to providing next-generation power solutions to its global customers."

The E2P2 project is the latest in a series of initiatives conducted by Vertiv around sustainability and the wider Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) arena. The company is also part of the Sustainable Digital Infrastructure Alliance (SDIA) and the European Data Center Association (EUDCA). It contributes to the Climate Neutral Data Center Pact to meet the European Commission's goal for climate-neutral data centers by 2030.

The E2P2 project is part of the company's effort to prioritise and support the development of clean, sustainable and renewable power solutions for application across the data center industry.

Some of the highlights and key facts include:

  • E2P2 is a joint project from Equinix, InfraPrime, RISE, Snam, SolidPower, TEC4FUELS and Vertiv, partially funded with a grant by the Clean Hydrogen Partnership from the Horizon 2020 program of the European Commission.
  • The consortium will engage with organisations developing European best practices and standards to facilitate high-level concept design and interface definitions.
  • The E2P2 project goals are aligned to the objectives of the European Commission to rapidly accelerate the application of fuel cells to power the needs of energy-intensive sectors while achieving a greener grid. 
  • Vertiv will leverage its extensive experience in AC power systems and prefabricated modular solutions for data centers to design and develop an integrated fuel-cell power module, including the Vertiv Liebert EXL S1 UPSy and Vertiv HPL lithium-ion batteries.

Bart Biebuyck, executive director at Clean Hydrogen Partnership, says with its ongoing support of research and development of fuel cells for stationary applications, the Clean Hydrogen Partnership (previously FCH JU) managed to set a strong basis for European industry to lead in the deployment of new technologies.

"We're proud to see that the E2P2 project will provide clean fuel cell-based applications for the decarbonisation of data centers within a solid consortium gathering fuel cell providers, system integrators, as well as data center operators and energy utilities," he says.

"Projects such as E2P2 are absolutely essential in offering solutions to un-tap markets with great potential and contribute to our ambitious EU climate targets."

 

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