Microsoft relies on hydrogen fuel cells to power its data centers

In the United States, Microsoft has just supplied a row of servers in one of its datacenters with a hydrogen fuel cell for 48 hours.

The data centers are considered a scourge to the environment. Their carbon footprint is estimated to be similar to that of aviation and industry, with 2% of total greenhouse gas emissions . This figure is expected to explode in the future. Thus, projections indicate that data storage could represent 14% of emissions by 2040. The major players in the sector seek to be virtuous and this is how they conduct experiments with a great  deal  of communication.

Data centers are therefore being established more and more in the coldest sectors of the world, particularly in the Arctic , or even underwater in order to cool the servers . For its part, Microsoft has just experimented with powering storage  servers via a fuel cell . The experiment was recently held in its data center in Salt Lake City, Utah, United States. For 48 hours, a  fuel cell with hydrogenpowered an entire row of servers. This test marks the start of Microsoft’s commitment to undo its dependence on diesel to generate electricity for its servers.

The fuel cell becomes competitive

First, it is not to feed an entire datacenter, but to remove the generators emergency diesel powered. These are used on average once a year in case of failure of the power grid .

If Microsoft is banking on this energy , it is because the production cost of batteries powered by hydrogen has fallen by 75% since 2018. If this trend continues, this process could even become financially competitive with respect to use. diesel generators.

The virtuous commitments of Microsoft do not come to convince the environmentalists who believe that the brand seek to buy a good conscience. They also consider that the data centers and tools of the IT giant as well as those of its competitor Amazon are massively adopted by companies in the fossil fuel sector .