Following in the environmentally conscious footsteps of leading data center power users like Apple, Google and eBay, financial service provider JPMorgan Chase recently announced they would utilize Bloom Energy fuel cells to provide energy to the company’s Delaware data center.
One of the early adopters of the green natural gas conversion technology, JPMorgan Chase will install a pilot 500 kilowatt “Bloom box” power system to power its Morgan Christiana, Del., site, according to ZDNet.
Bloom Energy recently announced that it will be opening a new manufacturing plant in the state as well. Bill McHenry, JPMorgan Chase global head of property operation, said this will allow the company to keep a close eye on the pilot technology at the Christiana site, stated Fuelcellsworks.
“We hope to expand the pilot as we move forward,” McHenry said at the plant’s opening, according to Fuelcellsworks. “We are able to not only improve our facility right here in Delaware, but also fulfill our companywide commitment to investing in new technologies designed to reduce our impact on the planet.”
ZDNet contributor David Chernicoff said some may be familiar with fuel cell technology from its use in the aborted Apollo 13 space mission. However, the Bloom fuel cells do not require highly volatile liquid oxygen. The data center power alternative generates energy from natural gas through an electrochemical reaction.
Because the system does not draw on the local power infrastructure, it makes fuel cells an environmentally conscious power alternative for data center design. Additionally, Chernicoff stated that natural gas prices are at an all time low in the U.S., making such technology increasingly beneficial for customers. Recently, the natural gas market experienced a significant drop in customer prices, as low as $2 per million BTU (British thermal unit) in April 2012. While prices are currently in the $3 per million BTU range, this cost of natural gas is attracting businesses seeking financial benefits.
Furthermore, utilizing the energy cells to power the facility makes JPMorgan Chase eligible for data center tax incentives for green energy.