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Ireland is getting the first European data center to replace power from the grid with fuel cells. This should be a step in reducing the country’s CO2 emissions.

Irish renewable energy company Lumcloon Energy and South Korean specialist SK Ecoplant are building a data center that will use fuel cells for its power supply. More specifically, these are so-called solid oxide fuel cells or SOFCs.

In a SOFC, hydrogen gas, fossil ‘normal’ gas, carbon monoxide or biogas are used as fuel. Electrolysis generates a chemical energy that is converted to electricity. The use of hydrogen also creates steam that could potentially be used to power a generator, but it is unclear if hydrogen will be used,

The size of fuel cells makes the technology well-suited to compact environments, such as data centers.

Combating CO2 emissions

According to the party, this is the first data center in Europe to run entirely on fuel cells. The parties and the Irish government want to take another step in further reducing Ireland’s CO2 emissions. This is because it will make the data center independent of the large electricity grid still powered by fossil fuel plants.

However, it is likely that the data center will initially run on natural gas in the fuel cells before switching to hydrogen or another fuel.

Also read: “There’s no shortage of energy, there’s too much energy waste”

Hydrogen cells NorthC data center Groningen

The data center to be built in Ireland is not the first data center in Europe to use fuel cells (hydrogen-based). The NorthC data center in Groningen was the first European data center to install fuel cells, but only did so for emergency power.

Een 3D-model van een zeecontainer geschikt voor gebruik als datacenter.

Among other things, this allows the data center provider to save tens of thousands of litres of diesel annually and combat the emissions the generators would potentially cause.