Microsoft opens gas-fed datacenter lab - Smart Energy Decisions

Commercial, Demand Management, Distributed Energy Resources, GHG Emissions, Industrial  -  October 26, 2017

Microsoft opens natural gas-fed datacenter pilot

Microsoft Corp. and partners on Oct. 26 announced the opening of its new "Advanced Energy Lab" in Seattle, a pilot datacenter project that has connected natural gas pipelines directly to racks that are fully powered by integrated fuel cells instead of traditional electrical gear. 

The technology giant said in announcing the pilot about a month ago that this configuration would "radically simplify the process of powering services," and has the potential to nearly double the energy efficiency of data centers while also reducing costs and improving reliability. Microsoft partnered with Cummins and McKinstry in the conception and funding of the lab; additional funding was provided by Siemens and the Washington State Department of Commerce through its Clean Energy Fund.

The 20-rack datacenter pilot, located at the McKinstry Innovation Center in the Sodo neighborhood of Seattle will soon deliver data and insights on how fuel cells can perform in this environment, according to an Oct. 26 news release. Washington Governor Jay Inslee officially launched the pilot with formal remarks and a "cord cutting" event to represent the project's independence from the traditional electrical grid. 

"The Lab is our latest step towards our ongoing work to eventually eliminate the energy and resource impact of our datacenters; in other words, making our datacenters disappear," Suresh Kumar, corporate vice president for Microsoft Cloud infrastructure and operations, said in a statement.

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