Siemens, Microsoft to power for zero-carbon biogas data center

Siemens Energy Management has partnered with Microsoft and FuelCell Energy to design, engineer and install equipment and software for a power monitoring solution at a data center in Cheyenne, WY.

This will be nation’s first zero-carbon, waste-to-energy data center and the project will use biogas methane produced at the nearby Dry Creek wastewater facility to power the fuel cell system.

The fuel cell system will convert the biogas into electricity to power the Microsoft data center.

Siemens engineered and installed intelligent controls, power monitoring hardware and energy management software needed to power the data center that will be entirely independent from the grid.

The system will deal with the overall performance and energy output of the fuel cell for a high-quality power delivery to operate Microsoft’s data center 24-7.

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By adapting Siemens’ intelligent technology, renewable resources like biogas and fuel cells can together become energy source for full-scale power projects.

In any data center, power quality and reliability is key since the facility must run uninterrupted 24-7 to protect information stored there, said, Kevin Yates, head, Siemens Energy Management Division.

Siemens’ brightest engineers brought their vast data center and power industry expertise to build a custom solution that proves resources like biogas and fuel cells can be relied on to provide reliable power to critical installations, Yates added.

Siemens using specific parameters provided by both contributing firms engineered the power monitoring technology to provide insight into the power generation process.

They needed both the biogas and fuel cell concept joining together to produce reliable energy and move the project from pilot to full-scale.

The Siemens software and hardware monitors the amount of biogas being sent to the fuel cell, the conversion to usable energy, and the fuel cell output to check that enough electricity is created.

In addition, the technology includes predictive demand alert capability that warns about power quality or energy demand issues.

The Microsoft data center will operate completely off the grid producing 250 kilowatts of renewable power and use approximately 100 kilowatts. The additional power will be sent back to the waste water treatment facility.

As part of the integrated solution, Siemens also provided environmental controls inside the data center to manage air temperature, flow, and humidity.

Besides, Siemens provided circuit breakers that deliver energy to the servers and protect power supply in cases of low or high energy levels within the container.

Sabeena Wahid

editor@greentechlead.com