Data-Centre-as-a-Service provider, ECL, has announced the world’s first modular, off-grid, zero-emission data centre that primarily uses hydrogen power.
Data centres are available in 1MW blocks that can be connected to one another to provide the required capacity, and perform with 99.9999% uptime. The final product is entirely hydrogen-powered and sustainable, so it consumes no local resources – eliminating some common community issues with data centre construction and operation. In addition, the data centre operates with low noise levels, so that it is even less disruptive to the local area.
The first ECL modular data centre will be constructed at ECL’s headquarters in California in the second quarter of 2023. Yuval Bachar, Founder and CEO of ECL, said: “The innovations we are announcing today set a new bar for flexibility and sustainability in the global data center industry.”
ECL’s data centres are reportedly reliable and sustainable, but they also offer customers the benefit of rapid implementation. Because they do not require connections to local utilities, the data centres can be designed and delivered much faster than typical facilities. According to the press release from ECL, this can help ‘reduce planning and construction cycles from between 18-24 months to between 6-9 months’.
“Never before has hydrogen been harnessed for use as the primary power source for the data center and that, combined with the unmatched efficiency of our cooling system and our emissions-free operations, is unique in the world today,” added Bachar.
The new data centre was developed using the principles of hydrogen cell power, which has been explored at many different facilities as a replacement for diesel backup generators. However, ECL is the first company that is looking to use hydrogen as a primary power source, allowing the facility to operate off-grid.
ECL has also eliminated the need for external water sources by creating a system to re-use water created as a by-product of the hydrogen power process. Normally, this would be considered ‘waste water’, but ECL’s design uses it for cooling server racks. This cooling system allows for a higher server density per rack and a low PUE – 1.05 as compared to the industry average of approximately 1.57.
The company also stated that ECL’s Data-Centre-as-a-Service solution reduces the total cost of ownership (TCO) by one-third over traditional data centres, when measured over a five-year period.
At the same time as the introduction of the modular, hydrogen-powered service, ECL announced $7 million in seed funding, provided by investments from Molex Ventures and Hyperwise Ventures. As a result, Lily Yeung, Vice President at Molex and Nathan Shuchami, Managing Partner at Hyperwise, will join the board of the company.
Shuchami said: “ECL has a long lead on the competition in the delivery of a data center powered primarily by green hydrogen and we can’t wait to stand with them as they raise the curtain in Q2 2023.”
Lily Yeung emphasised the way that the new ECL-designed data centres meet industry and customer demands: “It’s exciting to see ECL investing to bring tremendously relevant and novel experience into this high growth space around customizable modular data centers that can support the growing demand for advanced and flexible computational needs and sustainable power use.”