Microsoft Is Testing Hydrogen Fuel Cells as Backup Generators


Like many conglomerates, Microsoft can be in search of to turn into carbon destructive. They set their goals to turn into carbon destructive and abolish all their diesel gas use by 2030.

Diesel emissions truly account for lower than 1% of Microsoft’s emissions. Primarily, diesel mills are used as a back-up energy resolution for the cloud computing department Azure’s datacenters. So, they only kick in in instances of an influence outage.

Mark Monroe, an infrastructure engineer on Microsoft’s datacenter superior growth crew says, “They are expensive. And they sit around and don’t do anything for more than 99% of their life.”


With the current developments, hydrogen gas cells have turn into a viable resolution for such energy outages. On high of that, they will match their energy cells with a water electrolyzer that strips hydrogen and oxygen aside. They may use this to supply load balancing providers and preserve server well being and latency extra secure throughout excessive site visitors moments.

The electrolyzer will be turned on when there’s an abundance of photo voltaic or wind power within the grid. Then, when there is a excessive demand, Microsoft may then activate the gas cells to harness the output of the electrolyzer.

Early efforts

In 2013 Microsoft started exploring different gas cell applied sciences. They examined the thought of powering server racks with pure gas-powered SOFCs (stable oxide gas cells). Monroe explains: “They have the ability to make their own hydrogen out of the natural gas feed that they get.” And added, “They take natural gas, a little bit of water, they heat it up to 1112 degrees F (600 degrees C), which is the temperature of a hot charcoal fire.”

At this temperature, a course of known as steam methane formation happens, which outputs hydrogen atoms which can be match for electrical era. According to Microsoft, implementation of such expertise may make their datacenter power effectivity eight to 10 instances higher. Although, the expertise stays too unviable cost-wise to be applied at an enormous scale. 

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