Microsoft, Caterpillar and Ballard will test a 1.5-MW hydrogen fuel cell generator / ServerNews

Microsoft has partnered with Caterpillar and Ballard Power Systems to test hydrogen fuel cell standby generators at its data center in Quincy, Washington. The project is designed for three years and is aimed at exploring the possibility of using hydrogen fuel cells in the data center scale. The project is partially funded by the US Department of Energy (DOE) under the H2 @ Scale initiative.

Caterpillar will be the prime contractor for overall system integration, power electronics and controls. Ballard will provide a 1.5 MW ClearGen-II hydrogen fuel cell generator, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) will conduct a safety, environmental and operational analysis.

Image source: Microsoft

For the successful implementation of the project, a number of problems must be solved. For fuel cells to provide 3 MW of power for 48 hours, it takes about 68 m3 liquid hydrogen, which requires much more storage space than diesel fuel. Special piping is required to avoid leaks, and the hydrogen itself must be stored below -253 ° C. Formerly Microsoft successfully tested hydrogen fuel cells with a capacity of 250 kW from Power Innovations.

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