Equinix to install Bloom Energy biogas fuel cells at data center

By Equinix | May 20, 2015

Equinix Inc., the global interconnection and data center company, and Bloom Energy have announced a 1 MW biogas fuel cell project at its SV5 International Business Exchange data center, located in Silicon Valley. The deployment of fuel cells supports Equinix’s long-term sustainability goal of using 100 percent clean and renewable energy across its global platform of more than 100 data centers.

The 1 MW Bloom Energy fuel cell will provide an estimated 8.3 million kWh per year of clean, reliable electricity; powering a portion of the SV5 data center.

The fuel cell uses a proprietary solid oxide technology to generate electricity through a clean electrochemical process using air and fuel and resulting in only water and a small amount of carbon dioxide as by-products.

The installation utilizes no combustion and is associated with a 15 percent carbon dioxide reduction over the local PG&E grid or at least 1.6 million pounds of avoided CO2 emissions from the California grid and that is before the use of biogas.

Using 100 percent biogas to fuel the system will result 1 MW of 100 percent renewable energy; biogas is methane gas captured from decomposing organic matter such as that from landfills or animal waste. By using biogas Equinix avoids the use of natural gas—a fossil fuel.

SOx (sulfur oxides), NOx (nitrogen oxides) and other harmful smog-forming particulate emissions are virtually eliminated with the use of Bloom Energy fuel cells, and because 1 MW of demand at a local gas or coal-fired power plant is avoided, fuel cells are also associated with significant indirect water savings.

The project also includes uninterruptible power modules that are configured to protect a portion of the data center’s energy load from electrical outages, reducing reliance on traditional back-up equipment.

Today, Equinix gets approximately 30 percent of its global energy from clean, renewable sources. Over time, Equinix plans to deliver on its long-term goal of using 100 percent clean and renewable energy by using a variety mechanisms including fuel cells or solar panels, power purchase agreements, utility renewable energy programs, renewable energy credits and carbon offsets.

 “This project demonstrates Equinix’s commitment to find cost-effective ways to reduce our carbon footprint and move toward 100 percent renewable energy,” said Sam Kapoor, chief global operations officer at Equinix. “By working with Bloom Energy to purchase 100 percent biogas and fuel cells, we’re able to support the energy needs of our customers in an environmentally responsible way.”

“Companies are increasingly turning to data center colocation services in order to interconnect with other businesses and they want to do this in an environmentally responsible way,” said Peter Gross, vice president of mission critical systems at Bloom Energy. “By deploying Bloom Energy fuel cells, Equinix is taking a leadership position in sustainability. The clean and modular nature of Bloom’s technology makes us uniquely suited to meet the growing demand for renewable power to support cutting edge IT infrastructure.”