It was some time last year that Microsoft mentioned they were looking into the possible use of fuel cells in order to power the servers that are located in some of its data centers. Fast forward to today, and you see some of the “fruit” of their labor, where a demonstration was recently shown off at the National Fuel Cell Research Center at the University of California, Irvine.
Microsoft mentioned, “We successfully demonstrated a rack of servers powered directly off the direct current (DC) output of the fuel cell stack, essentially stripping out most of the infrastructure found in the traditional data center energy supply chain. The result is a very efficient system with a radically simplified supply chain and fewer points of potential failure.”
Should Microsoft ever decide to take this route where the rest of its data centers are concerned, it is touted to reduce the cost of powering the building even when you take construction costs into consideration. Apart from that, it will also lead to energy savings and better use of the power that has been generated by the fuel cell stack. Microsoft did mention that “the electrical efficiency, from fuel cell stack to server, improved by a full third from 39.8% to 53.3%.”
The implications of this development could be far reaching, since it could be used to power other normal appliances in the home. [Press Release]