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Alternative Energy in North American and EMEA Data Centers

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Vusi Melane
Vusi Melane
Staff Writer

Vertiv, a global provider of critical digital infrastructure and continuity solutions, and Ballard Power Systems, a market leader in PEM fuel cells, have formed a strategic technology partnership focused on backup power applications for data centers and critical infrastructures, scalable from 200 kW to multiple MWs.

The collaboration aims to demonstrate the technical feasibility and customer benefits of hydrogen-powered fuel cell solutions. Vertiv has integrated Ballard fuel cell power modules with its Vertiv Liebert EXL S1 uninterruptible power system (UPS), successfully showcasing a proof of concept (POC) at Vertiv’s facility in Ohio.


Green House Gas

Vice President Marketing and Strategic partnerships for Ballard, Nicolas Pocard, says “As the soaring increase in data usage is driving up power demand and expansion of data centre capacity globally, the need to effectively manage electricity consumption and the carbon footprint of this energy-intensive sector is critical to achieve net-zero targets. Ballard and Vertiv’s strategic partnership enable both parties to leverage our respective strengths to offer cost-effective, zero Green House Gas (GHG) emission fuel cell back-up power solutions that are scalable to meet data centres growing power demands.”

Based on industry-ready components, Vertiv’s demonstrated Power Module H2 solution at their Delaware, Ohio facility integrates two Ballard PowerGen 200kW fuel cell cabinets, which power the fully functional decarbonised backup system. The solution encompasses a complete cooling sub-system, power conditioning equipment and hydrogen storage infrastructure integrated with Vertiv HPL Lithium-Ion batteries, Liebert EXL S1 UPS system and the Vertiv DynaFlex Energy Management Controller. The Power Module H2 solution is part of the 1 MW Vertiv Customer Experience Center microgrid solution including a 1MW AC Solar PV array and Vertiv DynaFlex Battery Energy Storage System (BESS).

Initial validations and tests have demonstrated successful operation of zero GHG emission backup power integrated into an uninterruptible power architecture.

Vice president of Vertiv infrastructure solutions, Viktor Petik, says “The unprecedented adoption of artificial intelligence (AI) and high-performance computing (HPC) are driving a need for eco-friendly power solutions for our customers, with a focus on zero-carbon and low-carbon energy alternatives. The successful fuel cell proof-of-concept with Ballard provides a viable option for customers strengthening their data centre sustainability strategy, and those moving to a future-ready Bring Your Own Power (BYOP) model.”

Power Module H2

Vertiv’s Power Module H2 offers an alternative solution to meet the increasing energy demands of future data centers and provides zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emission backup power generation. This prefabricated and factory-tested system offers a quickly deployable and scalable power infrastructure for new data centers, as well as the ability to retrofit existing sites without requiring redesign of the electrical infrastructure.

Focusing on North America, Europe, and selected opportunities in other regions, the Vertiv Power Module H2 solution provides numerous advantages for critical infrastructure applications:

  • Single-supplied complex power infrastructure
  • Zero GHG emission and low noise backup power generation
  • Rapid Dynamic power response
  • Low maintenance compared to diesel generator backup solutions
  • Extended backup (days) – limited only by fuel storage capacity
  • Optimised footprint for MW scale applications
  • Scalable in multi-MW UPS and Fuel Cell applications

The Vertiv Power Module H2 solution broadens the Vertiv power portfolio and is an innovative contribution to the recently revealed the “One Vertiv, One World” plan, part of Vertiv’s responsible business strategy to enable a more sustainable future.

Vertiv and Ballard’s teams will showcase and discuss fuel cell-powered standby power applications for data centers and critical infrastructures at Smarter E Europe 2024, Europe’s largest consortium of exhibitions for the energy industry, which includes Intersolar Europe, ees Europe, Power2Drive Europe, and EM-Power Europe. The companies will be located at exhibition area B2, Booth B2 436, from June 19-21.

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