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SK ecoplant partners with Irish power firm to provide Europe’s first fuel cell data centre

Written by Tue 7 Nov 2023

South Korean energy solutions provider SK ecoplant has collaborated with Irish power generation firm Lumcloon Energy. Together, they will help create Europe’s first fuel cell data centre. 

As part of the collaboration, both companies will introduce solid oxide fuel cells to power a new Irish data centre. The new facility will be located 80km to the west of Dublin, in Castlelost.

“This partnership will establish the groundwork for us to offer green energy solutions in Ireland including our fuel cell operations … As a global energy company with a holistic value chain spanning renewable energy to hydrogen, we aim to strengthen our presence in developed markets,” said Kyung-il Park, CEO at SK ecoplant.

Fuel cells have gained traction due to their ability to offer efficient, decentralised urban power generation. Fuel cells offer a sustainable and reliable alternative to fossil fuels, suitable for powering data centres with high energy consumption demands.

Ireland’s Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Simon Coveney, said the new data centre can operate as a template for many other data centres in the future.

“Europe’s first fuel cell powered data centre in Ireland …  is of great strategic importance to innovate the power supply system of data centres with high electricity demand and reduce carbon emissions,” said Coveney.

SK ecoplant’s collaboration with Lumcloon Energy extends to renewable energy initiatives, including solar, hydrogen, and energy storage systems. Both companies signed a memorandum of understanding on 2 November to cement the collaboration.

“Korea is an increasingly strategically important market for Irish companies. Today’s signing of cooperation between the two companies shows the success story of innovative companies in the two countries,” said Leo Clancy, CEO at Enterprise Ireland.

The memorandum signing was attended by Ireland’s Minister for Enterprise, Trade, and Employment, Simon Coveney and figures from SK ecoplant, including Kyung-il Park, CEO of SK ecoplant, and CEO of Lumcloon Energy, Nigel Reams.

The partnership aligns with the Irish Government’s goal to source 80% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030.

Ireland is a prominent data centre hub due to its cost-effective electricity rates and temperate climate. Currently, more than 60 data centres are located in the Dublin area, hosting tech companies like Google, Amazon, Meta, and Microsoft.

Data centres have contributed around 18% of the country’s electricity generation in 2022. Irish state-owned power operator, Eirgrid, predicts data centres will represent 30% of the nation’s total electricity generation by 2028. 

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Written by Tue 7 Nov 2023

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