Microsoft Corp.is developing the world’s first natural gas/integrated fuel cell-powered data center in a pilot test in a Seattle-based Advanced Energy Lab. The pilot is a 20-rack data center in which each rack is directly connected to gas pipes and powered by integrated fuel cells instead of the traditional electric connections. Microsoft has been working for several years with the National Fuel Cell Research Center at the University of California-Irvine, exploring the use of in-rack fuel cells, which can be used with either natural gas, renewable natural gas or biogas. An earlier pilot in Cheyenne, WY, verified the biogas option.
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