Microsoft is currently testing a lot of renewable energy sources in order to replace non-renewable sources of electricity. Hydrogen fuel cells seem to be a very good alternative for the traditional diesel fuel in order to run the data centers which are very power consuming.
Microsoft officials have confirmed that the company is planning to eliminate all its dependency from diesel fuel by the year 2030, the same year Microsoft is aiming to become completely carbon negative. The hydrogen fuel cell costs have gone down recently, making them an economically viable alternative to diesel-powered options.
Microsoft uses Hydrogen fuel cells to run data centers
One of the Azure datacenters are powered with these cells, which is a hydrogen storage tank and an electrolyzer that converts water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen could be integrated with the electric power grid to provide load balancing service. Mark Monroe, a principal infrastructure engineer in Microsoft’s datacenter says that Microsoft has used hydrogen fuel cells to power a row of data center servers for 48 consecutive hours as part of a test.
We're constantly innovating across all aspects of cloud infrastructure, including in DC design: "Microsoft tests hydrogen fuel cells for backup power at datacenters" https://t.co/aVDK1Pyf3a
— Mark Russinovich (@markrussinovich) July 27, 2020
Monroe’s team developed a 250-kilowatt fuel cell system, enough to power a full row of data center servers, and in September 2019 installed it at an Azure datacenter near Salt Lake City, Utah. Pure hydrogen gas is a clean fuel, but it’s not a source of energy. It is merely its carrier and today requires electricity to make. But researchers are exploring sustainable ways to generate hydrogen gas, such as biomass-derived liquid reforming, electrolysis, and biomass gasification, among others.
The use of renewable energy in the domain of data science was a necessity. The data centers are houses of machines that require a lot of energy however, traditional duel sources prove to be costlier and also pose a threat to non-renewable energy sources. However, the use of hydrogen fuel cells is definitely a step in the right direction.
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Suryapratim Ray is an engineer, author, robotics hobbyist, and an active Quoran. Being a technical blogger, he covers the good, bad, and ugly of science on a regular basis at Sciencenews18. In addition to his passion for writing, he’s equally keen on learning classical music.