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Microsoft is exploring data centers powered by fuel cells

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Posted November 15, 2013
Microsoft
Fuel cell powered data centers may not be ready today but Microsoft is exploring the idea in a vision of data centers that one day can get out from under reliance on the electricity grid. Microsoft has released a paper discussing the fuel cell-based data center power distribution system. “No More Electrical Infrastructure: Towards Fuel Cell Powered Data Centers” is authored by Ana Carolina Riekstin, Sean James, Aman Kansal, Jie Liu, and Eric Peterson. The authors said that “If the FCs are placed close to power consumption units, at the servers or racks, we can completely eliminate the power distribution system in the data center, including the power backup generation system. So, no data center wide electrical infrastructure is required.”

Sean James, one of the authors, blogged earlier this week about the paper and Microsoft’s overall initiative. “Based on our models detailed in the paper,” he said, “we show how integrating a small generator with the IT hardware significantly cuts complexity by eliminating all the electrical distribution in the grid and data center.” James is senior research program manager, Global Foundation Services (the engine that powers Microsoft’s cloud services). The paper, he said, describes “how we are taking an unconventional approach to power a data center entirely by fuel cells integrated directly into the server racks.”

Read more at: Phys.org

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