Fuel cell developer Ceres Power and reciprocating engine maker Cummins have won a US DoE award to develop fuel cell systems for data centres.

They will work on a modular solid oxide fuel cell system, based on the Ceres Steel Cell (pictured), targeting high electrical efficiency (60%), scalable up to 100 kW. Wider applicability to other markets such as commercial combined heat and power will also be considered. (Ceres has also recently announced it will begin trials of its prototype Steel Cell based home power systems in the UK later this year, supported by €600 000 of European funding, as it joins the ene.field fuel cell residential demonstration programme.)

If successfully implemented into data centres, the Steel Cell will enable data centre operators to cut current overall costs by more than 20% and reduce their carbon footprint by up to 49%. Data centres are estimated to consume nearly 2% of the world’s electrical power.

Meanwhile, MTU Onsite Energy reports an order to supply a total of 23 emergency generators with a total rating of 57 MW for a data centre in Amsterdam. The gensets will all be based on the 20-cylinder Series 4000 engine.

The data centre is operated by US company EdgeConneX, which already uses 80 MTU gensets for standby power requirements at its data centres in the US. 

The diesel gensets are being supplied complete with a 30 000 litre fuel tank and will be installed in containers in order to meet noise control requirements. MTU’s Series 4000 engines produce their full electrical output within 15 seconds of start-up, thereby meeting the customer’s stringent project requirements.