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Vertiv joins Equinix in push for low-carbon fuel cell development for data centres

Fuel cells are recognised as a cleaner and quieter power solution that can alleviate demand on urban power grids.

By João Marques Lima

Co-founder and Editor, The Tech Capital

3 Mins

December 15, 2021 | 4:00 AM GMT

Digital infrastructure manufacturer Vertiv (NYSE: VRT) has announced the Clean Hydrogen Partnership will provide €2.5 million (US$2.81 million) to help fund a project to develop low-carbon fuel cells to power data centres.

The company said that it is hoped this could reduce carbon emissions from operations by up to 100%.

The EcoEdge PrimePower (E2P2) project is a novel proof-of-concept initiative aiming to develop and demonstrate low environmental impact fuel cells that provide economic and resilient prime power solutions for the data centre environment.

A consortium of seven companies—Equinix (NASDAQ: EQIX), InfraPrime, RISE, Snam, SolidPower, TEC4FUELS and Vertiv—will explore an integration of solid-oxide fuel cells with uninterruptible power supply (UPS) technology and lithium-ion batteries to provide resilient and clean primary power to data centre deployments and other critical infrastructure.

Implementing natural gas solid oxide fuel cells (SOFC) as a prime power application will be instrumental to pave the way for the use of green hydrogen for fuel cells application, for both backup and prime power systems.

Giordano Albertazzi, president for Vertiv in Europe, Middle East, and Africa, said: “Digitalisation and the data centre industry are growing at an increasing pace and thus it is even more vital to fast-track our journey towards an environmentally sustainable future.

“This can only be made possible by developing clean, innovative technologies such as fuel-cell solutions to provide sustainable power for the digital world. Vertiv is proud to actively contribute to the E2P2 proof-of-concept initiative and looks forward to provide next-generation power solutions to its global customers”.

The E2P2 project is the latest in a series of initiatives Vertiv has conducted around sustainability and the wider Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) arena.

Vertiv is also part of the Sustainable Digital Infrastructure Alliance (SDIA) and the European Data Centre Association (EUDCA) and contributes to the Climate Neutral Data Centre Pact with the aim to meet the European Commission’s goal for climate-neutral data centres by 2030.

Eugene Bergen Henegouwen, President, EMEA, Equinix, added: “The E2P2 project hopes to be a breakthrough in making data centres more environmentally sustainable worldwide. Equinix has committed to mitigating our environmental impact, and this project provides a unique opportunity to demonstrate the use of an innovative, clean, primary energy source.

“We hope it will make a considerable impact towards reaching our global commitment of 100% renewable energy and climate neutrality by 2030, as well as advancing our industry’s sustainability goals. It’s important we support the growth of the market in Europe for clean and reliable on-site power.”

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