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Equinix is collaborating with the National University of Singapore (NAS) to use hydrogen as a sustainable energy source for datacenter infrastructures.

Equinix provides datacenter and colocation services. According to the organization, the joint research should determine whether hydrogen can serve as an on-site power source for its datacenter locations.

In collaboration with the NAS Center for Energy Research & Technology (CERT), the organization should produce a combination of two clean energy technologies for use in future datacenters.

PEM and linear generators

The first technology involves Proton-Exchange Membrane (PEM) fuel cells. These increasingly popular fuel cells use hydrogen and acid stacks to generate power. Some fuel cell designs are expected to be capable of creating hydrogen through water and electricity alone.

The partners will combine PEM technologies with so-called fuel-flexible linear generators. These generators are capable of switching between different fuels, such as hydrogen, biogas and other renewable liquid fuels. In addition, the generators use a low-temperature reaction of air and fuel instead of a combustion process.

According to Equinix, the generators make it easier to adapt the installation of infrastructure to new market conditions. This should make companies more flexible when it comes to datacenter infrastructure.

Proofs-of-concept

The NAS CERT will pitch in by analysing both technologies. Based on its analysis, the research centre should determine to what extent the technologies are capable of operating on a large scale.

Equinix will develop proofs-of-concept for both solutions so that they can be tested in its live global datacenter network. In doing so, Equinix will attempt to determine the most viable technology for future datacenter designs.