22 Feb 2022

Dutch Data Centre Saves on Diesel with New Hydrogen Fuel Cells

22 Feb 2022  by   
This will make it the first European data centre to install hydrogen fuel cells for emergency power, according to NorthC, and aims to reduce CO2 emissions by replacing the diesel emergency power generators.


The 500KW hydrogen cell module will save tens of thousands of litres of diesel annually and more than 78,000 kilograms of CO2.

Even though the cells are more expensive than traditional diesel generators, NorthC suggests the solution will become increasingly cost-competitive over time, with the increasing cost of fuel, the decreasing cost of hydrogen, and the 20-year life span of the fuel cell.

NorthC is also investigating the possibility of making existing diesel generators suitable for hydrogen, a move that would reduce emissions by more than 80%.

Jarno Bloem, COO at NorthC Datacenters, said: “With these hydrogen cells, our data centre in Groningen has a European first for emergency power supplies. We are now going to investigate if we can also apply this technology in our other data centres, initially mainly in new branches or expansions of existing branches.

“The ultimate goal, of course, is to use green hydrogen as a primary power supply, but that is still something to address in the future. An important condition is a drop in the costs of hydrogen. This requires subsidies and an increase in scale. But given the enormous advantages that this form of energy offers, I am convinced that it is just a matter of time.”

There is pressure on European data centres to achieve climate-neutral operations by 2030, according to NorthC. Hydrogen cells are a promising technology to achieve this goal and drive sustainability within the industry.

The hydrogen cells in Groningen are expected to be operational by the middle of June.


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