CenturyLink data center to be powered by hydrogen fuel

October 11, 2013 0 By Bret Williams

CenturyLink seeks to tap into the power of hydrogen fuel cells

CenturyLink, a leading communications company based in the U.S., has announced that it will be installing hydrogen fuel cells at one of its data centers located in California. The fuel cells come from Bloom Energy, a leading developer of hydrogen-based energy systems. Fuel cells have been growing in popularity within the communications and technology sectors for their potential uses in data centers. Some companies have put fuel cells to use as a form of back-up power, hoping to keep data centers running in the event of an emergency, while others have opted to use the energy systems as a primary power source.

Fuel cells will produce 4.4 million kWh of power

The hydrogen fuel cells from Bloom Energy will generate as much as 500 kilowatts of electrical power and nearly 4.4 million kilowatt-hours each year. The fuel cells will provide energy to CenturyLink’s cloud servers as well as a variety of other services. The fuel cells are expected to help CenturyLink cut down on more than 1 million pounds of carbon dioxide emissions every year and help reduce the company’s production of other greenhouse gases.

Bloom Energy - Hydrogen Fuel CellsApple shows favor for Bloom fuel cells

Hydrogen fuel cells are becoming more popular in the technology sector and many companies are turning to Bloom Energy for its products. CenturyLink is not the first to make use of Bloom Energy’s hydrogen fuel cells, of course. Technology giant Apple installed Bloom Energy fuel cells as its massive data center in Maiden, North Carolina. Apple claims that the data center now operates entirely on renewable energy, using a mix of hydrogen fuel cells and solar energy systems.

High cost of fuel cells slows adoption

While fuel cells have been growing in popularity, their adoption has been somewhat sluggish. This is partly due to the high cost of hydrogen fuel cells. The upfront investment needed to acquire these energy systems is prohibitive for some companies and organizations, leading them to opt for other forms of clean power.