Internet, the cloud and applications are already natural components of everyday life. To ensure the usability of these services huge datacenters are required to continuously manage the vast amounts of data. A reliable and environmentally friendly power supply is indispensable for these datacenters. On Wednesday October 25th, one of the largest IT-companies in the world, Microsoft, has commissioned a game-changing project: power production directly at the rack, with fuel cell generators from SOLIDpower.
In the presence of Washington governor Jay Inslee and other high-ranking representatives from the industry and politics the installation was commissioned with a festive opening ceremony. SOLIDpower provided ten fuel cell generators that were installed directly above the racks to power the servers therein. This revolutionary architecture is the result of long-term research of Microsoft and its partners. The highly efficient generation directly at the rack does not require complex power distribution systems and the investment cost are signifi-cantly reduced.
The solid oxide fuel cells (SOFC) from SOLIDpower operate at the highest electrical efficiency and reduce the operating cost as well as the carbon footprint. Due to the decentralized architecture and the redundancies in server capacities diesel-powered backup generators are also no longer required. “What makes this project so disruptive is how radically it simplifies the process of powering servers and how this could almost double the energy efficiency of datacenters – all while reducing costs and improving reliability”, said Chris Belady, General Manager Cloud Infrastructure Strategy and Architecture at Microsoft. Considering the amount of energy required to power its datacenters Microsoft is looking at multiple 100 million dollars per year in savings if the new architecture would be applied to all of its facilities.
The commissioning of the fuel cell generators marks a paradigm shift for the power supply of datacenters. “This success is the result of the cooperation of multiple teams of experts from various industries. After four years of development this architecture is now operational. We are ready to deploy the power-rack solution for datacenters on a large scale”, Alberto Ravagni, CEO of SOLIDpower, explained.