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ECL announces first hydrogen-powered green data centre

Written by Tue 25 Jun 2024

Silicon Valley Data Centre as a Service (DCaaS) company, ECL, has announced the first data centre fully powered by green hydrogen.

The modular, sustainable, off-grid data centre delivers 1MW per block, which can be configured and customised to user requirements.

The hydrogen-powered ECL data centre now has its first user: Cato Digital, a digital infrastructure provider. Cato offers a sustainable bare metal cloud that is low-cost, low-carbon, and available to the general public.

As a company dedicated to sustainable infrastructure, Cato’s values align with ECL’s flexible, efficient, and environmentally-sound design.

CEO of Cato, Dean Nelson, emphasised the importance of exploring new avenues of data centre power supply in light of technological advancements. Nelson said the rapid expansion of artificial intelligence (AI) has put incredible strain on global data centre power capacity, adding that building more of today’s current data centres will not solve it.

“ECL is uniquely positioned as they have redesigned the data centre from the ground up …  It is setting a new standard for excellence in the design, deployment and delivery of hydrogen-powered data centres today, not years from now,” said Nelson.

Advancements in Hydrogen Technology

Utilising hydrogen as fuel has been explored in data centres already, but primarily used as fuel cells for backup power supplies. ECL is the first company to offer a modular data centre fully-powered by green hydrogen.

ECL attributed the advancement in data centre power technology to a combination of disruptive technologies, including power generation, battery energy storage, and power architecture that allows the data centre to rely solely on hydrogen fuel cells.

Never before has hydrogen been harnessed for use as the primary power source for the data centre and that, combined with the unmatched efficiency of our cooling system and emissions-free operations, is unique in the world today,” said Yuval Bachar, Founder and CEO at ECL.

These cooling systems use the water that is created as a byproduct of the hydrogen fuel cell power generation. This eliminates dependence on external water sources, further improving the data centre sustainability.

The water cooling system, combined with rear-door heat exchange allows a higher density per rack than other data centres, and results in a power usage effectiveness (PUE) of 1.05.

“I would like to thank our investors at Molex and Hyperwise, whose support for our vision and recognition of our capabilities is enabling us to change the very nature and future of this industry,” added Bachar.

Hydrogen innovation for data centre applications has been making great strides.

In February, Caterpillar collaborated with Microsoft and Ballard Power Systems to demonstrate the use of hydrogen fuel cells for sustainable and reliable backup power in data centres.

This trial underscores the potential of hydrogen technology to meet the stringent uptime requirements of modern data centres.

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Written by Tue 25 Jun 2024

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