Manchester data centre to become first to install hydrogen-ready fuel cell

Hydrogen fuel cell

Manchester cloud hosting and data centre operator, Teledata has announced that it will be installing a scalable 1.2MW hydrogen-ready fuel cell microgrid to provide clean energy to its Wythenshawe facility.  

Working with energy providers Conrad Energy, Electricity North West (Construction & Maintenance) Limited (ENWCML), and Bloom Energy, Teledata will be the first data centre in the UK to deploy fuel cell technology, in a move that will see the firm reduce greenhouse gas emissions through a cleaner, hydrogen-ready fuel supply, whilst also boosting the resilience of the data centre via a second power feed into the facility, from a completely different fuel source.  

Fuel cells work by converting fuel such as natural gas, biogas, and hydrogen, or a blend of fuels into electricity through an electrochemical process that requires no combustion – thus avoiding the emissions normally associated with burning this type of fuel. 

Teledata will be working with Conrad Energy on the power project, which will fully fund the fuel cell installation, which is provided by Bloom Energy.

Matt Edgley, director for Teledata, commented: “As a data centre provider, we are constantly looking for innovative energy solutions to help ensure a cheaper, cleaner, uninterrupted energy supply. We have already reduced our carbon output by over 500 tonnes annually through a number of energy-saving measures including the installation of a 2MW smart energy battery storage system in 2019. The fuel cell solution not only reduces our carbon emissions through a cleaner, hydrogen-ready fuel supply, but it also gives us a second power feed into the facility from a completely different fuel source. This level of resilience, running in parallel with the existing mains supply, will give our clients even more certainty when hosting business-critical equipment at our data centres.” 

Mark Kelly, Conrad Energy’s head of power solutions, said: “The Teledata deal comes hot on the heels of our partnership announcement with Bloom Energy and ENWCML. Forward-thinking companies like Teledata recognise the need to future-proof their energy supply whilst taking control of their energy costs. On-site generation from fuel cells is a viable solution that is available today. The fuel cell will operate under a long-term Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) which brings real added value, helping Teledata on their path to net zero carbon emissions.” 

“To be able to announce the first collaboration with one of our existing customers so quickly evidences the huge potential fuel cell technology has for the UK energy sector,” says Charles Hesketh, ENWCML market sector manager. “Not only is it our first project, but also Bloom Energy’s first foray into the European market. To be able to bring this exciting technology to the UK is a mark of our intention to be at the forefront of new technologies. Teledata’s vision to adopt this solution at its Manchester site is testament to the firm’s energy strategy and one that we are sure others will adopt.” 

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