Caterpillar to Launch Demonstration Project Using Hydrogen Fuel Cell Technology for Backup Power at Microsoft Data Center
Caterpillar Inc., a leading manufacturer of construction and mining equipment, has announced a three-year project through a collaboration with Microsoft and Ballard Power Systems, a leading global provider of innovative clean energy fuel cell solutions, to demonstrate a power system incorporating large-format hydrogen fuel cells to produce reliable and sustainable backup power for Microsoft data centers.
For more than 20 years, Caterpillar has collaborated on projects including research, development, and demonstration with the Department of Energy (DOE). And currently, the project is backed by the National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL) and supported and partially funded by the US DOE through the H2@Scale effort.
According to Jason Kaiser, vice president for Caterpillar’s Electric Power Division, as they work toward their climate-related objectives, Caterpillar focuses on providing their clients with dependable, resilient, and affordable power solutions.
With the help of industry leaders, they can advance the development of commercially viable power solutions and aid their clients in implementing more sustainable business practices by working together on this hydrogen fuel cell demonstration project.
The overall system integration, power electronics, and controls that make up the core of the power solution, which will be powered by low-carbon-intensity hydrogen, are being provided by Caterpillar.
The demonstration project is being hosted by Microsoft at a company data center in Quincy, Washington, and an advanced hydrogen fuel cell module is being provided by Ballard. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) is doing analyses on the effects of greenhouse gasses (GHGs), technology, and economics.
For Christian Belady, Distinguished Engineer and VP, Advanced Development, Cloud Operations and Innovation at Microsoft, as one of the many methods to achieve their goal of becoming carbon negative by 2030, they continue to invest in research and further development of hydrogen fuel cells.
This most recent project with Caterpillar will offer insightful information on how to scale up the use of hydrogen fuel cells for backup power in their data centers.
In order to demonstrate a 1.5 MW backup power delivery and control system that would meet or exceed the standards set by current diesel engine systems, Caterpillar experts in advanced power technologies, controls, and system integration are collaborating with Microsoft experts in data center design and Ballard experts in fuel cell design.
According to Randy MacEwen, Ballard’s President & CEO, they are thrilled to be working on this significant demonstration project with a complementary team of leading professionals from around the world.
The project’s results will shed important light on how fuel cell systems can grow and support multi-megawatt data centers. The study will also look at the economic and performance implications of scaling up fuel cell systems that use hydrogen with low carbon intensity.