Can you imagine a company the size and importance of ebay having one if its data centers rely on hydrogen? Well, you better believe it, because it’s real: a Utah center will do just that as soon as it’ll be built in the middle of 2013. The move is all the more remarkable as other tech players in the business use the technology only peripherally.
Until recently, EBay went along that same line: a data center already online in South Jordan, Utah and processing PayPal transactions has been getting its power from the national grid ever since its launch. The new center however, which is an addition to this one, will be using hydrogen fuel cells all the way; if anything goes wrong, it’s prepared to resort to the grid at once.
The reasons for this switch to hydrogen as fuel are somewhat obvious: lower costs, because the price for hydrogen has become more accessible in the past years, and the protection of the environment. Even so, a business is a business no matter what: ebay announced that it will reward any inventor of another biogas system able to provide the necessary amount for the plant, which is six megawatts. In the meantime, cell maker Bloom Energy will be busy gathering the right number of fuel cells.
You may have observed that I’ve been saying hydrogen fuel cells all along, because it’s important this distinction be made: there are other sources of fuel too that can play the role hydrogen does. Hydrogen however has distinguished itself through the fact that it has only water as byproduct. Also, since it’s produced on the site, losses and heavy, expensive generators can be avoided.