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Press Release

Ballard and Vertiv Partner to improve alternative energy use in data centres

Thu 20 Jun 2024

Ballard Power Systems and Vertiv have entered into a strategic technology partnership with a focus on backup power applications for data centres and critical infrastructures, scalable from 200kW to multiple MWs.

Collaborating to demonstrate the technical feasibility and customer benefits of hydrogen-powered fuel cell solutions, Vertiv has integrated Ballard fuel cell power modules with Vertiv™ Liebert® EXL S1 uninterruptible power system (UPS) within a successfully demonstrated proof of concept (POC) at Vertiv’s facility in Ohio.

Vice President Marketing and Strategic Partnerships at Ballard, Nicolas Pocard, emphasised the urgent need to manage electricity consumption and reduce the carbon footprint in data centres amidst surging global data usage and capacity expansion, crucial for achieving net-zero targets.

“Ballard and Vertiv’s strategic partnership enables both parties to leverage our respective strengths to offer cost-effective, zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emission fuel cell back-up power solutions that are scalable to meet data centres growing power demands,” added Pocard.

Inside Vertiv’s Solution

Vertiv’s Power Module H2 solution utilises industry-standard components, featuring two Ballard PowerGen 200kW fuel cell cabinets. These cabinets drive a fully operational decarbonised backup system.

The solution includes a cooling subsystem, power conditioning equipment, and hydrogen storage infrastructure. It integrates Vertiv™ HPL Lithium-Ion batteries, Liebert® EXL S1 UPS system, and the Vertiv™ DynaFlex Energy Management Controller. This system is part of the 1 MW microgrid at Vertiv’s Customer Experience Center, which also incorporates a 1 MW AC Solar PV array and Vertiv™ DynaFlex Battery Energy Storage System (BESS).

Initial validations and tests have demonstrated successful operation of zero GHG emission backup power integrated into an uninterruptible power architecture.

Vice President of Vertiv Infrastructure Solutions, Viktor Petik, said the unprecedented adoption of artificial intelligence (AI) and high-performance computing (HPC) are driving a need for eco-friendly power solutions for our users, with a focus on zero-carbon and low-carbon energy alternatives.

“The successful fuel cell proof-of-concept with Ballard provides a viable option for customers strengthening their data center sustainability strategy, and those moving to a future-ready Bring Your Own Power (BYOP) model,” said Petik.

Vertiv’s Power Module H2 is an alternative for meeting escalating energy demands of future data centres and zero GHG emission backup power generation. The prefabricated and factory tested system, provides a rapidly deployable and scalable power infrastructure for new data centres as well as the capability of retrofitting existing sites without redesign of the electrical infrastructure.

Advantages of the System

The Vertiv Power Module H2 solution, with a focus on North America, Europe, and selected global opportunities, brings several advantages to critical infrastructure applications. It provides a single-supplied complex power infrastructure, featuring zero GHG emissions and low noise during backup power generation.

The solution ensures rapid dynamic power response and requires lower maintenance compared to traditional diesel generator backups. It also offers extended backup capability limited only by fuel storage capacity, optimised footprint suitable for MW scale applications, and scalability for multi-MW UPS and Fuel Cell deployments.

This solution expands Vertiv’s power portfolio and supports the ‘One Vertiv, One World’ plan, intended to reinforce Vertiv’s commitment to a sustainable future.

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