Microsoft achieves milestone; successfully tested hydrogen fuel cell system

Microsoft recently updated that it has successfully tested a hydrogen fuel cell system. This system is powerful enough to replace a traditional diesel powered backup generator at a large data center. Microsoft gained a new milestone with this in their effort to ditch diesel. This will facilitate cleaner energy at its data centers. 

Microsoft with the aim of tackling climate change desires to completely quit diesel by 2030. Data centers are equipped with batteries that provide temporary power until backup generators are fired up in the case of power outrages. 

These generators operates on diesel and thus releases air pollutants and greenhouse gases. On the other hand, Hydrogen fuel cells combines hydrogen and oxygen to generate electricity and release heat and water instead of pollutants. 

Because of this, Microsoft is extremely excited to use hydrogen as a fuel. It reached a milestone of designing and testing a three-megawatt hydrogen fuel cell system that can power around 10,000 computer servers at a data center. 

Microsoft thought around the idea of fuel cell technology back in 2013. Fuel cells back then was still relying on natural gas. The company turned its attention to proton exchange membrane (PEM) by the year 2018. Back then Microsoft couldn’t find suppliers producing PEM fuel cell systems large enough for its data centers. Later they asked Plug Power, experts in hydrogen fuel cell systems, to construct a custom one.