Telecoms giant Bharti Airtel says its subsidiary, Nxtra by Airtel, is to become the first data centre company in India to install fuel cell technology to provide clean energy. Nxtra designs, builds and operate the largest network of hyperscale, core and edge data centres in the country.
Nxtra has announced a partnership with clean energy supplier Bloom Energy that involves the deployment of low environmental impact fuel cell installation at Nxtra’s data centre in Karnataka. Airtel says that the hydrogen-ready fuel cell unit will supply much cleaner energy to the data centre and lead to a significant reduction in carbon emissions.
Nxtra plans to start the unit on non-combusted natural gas and then switch to 50% hydrogen in future without any significant investment. The natural gas-powered cells will be used for primary generation with utility electrical grid and generators as backup sources.
Bloom Energy claims that its solid oxide platform for distributed generation of electricity and hydrogen delivers highly reliable and resilient, always-on electric power that is clean, fuel flexible, cost-effective and ideal for microgrid applications.
This may just be the start for Nxtra, which has already invested and partnered with eight organisations to develop renewable energy power plants across India to source more than 180,000 MWh of renewable energy. It is committed to achieving 50% of its power requirements through renewable energy sources in the next 12 months.
The Data Centre Dynamics website says that Bloom Energy has fuel cell deployments at data centres operated by Equinix, Teledata and CenturyLink.