Microsoft today announced that they partnering with Redox Power Systems LLC, the University of Maryland and Trans-Tech Inc. to develop a very efficient, low-cost fuel cell system. Microsoft and its partners were recently awarded $5 million by the Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E) to develop transformational fuel cells.
This research is being funded through the Reliable Electricity Based on Electrochemical Systems (REBELS) program, which seeks to encourage innovation around distributed stationary power generation by introducing technology concepts that have the potential for significantly lower costs and higher performance than existing distributed generation technologies. Though fuel cell technologies have long been recognized for high conversion efficiencies and the potential for near-zero greenhouse gas emissions, their high cost has been a major barrier to widespread adoption.
Microsoft will contribute this project by using its server racks to integrate and perform independent live testing on the enhanced fuel cells being created by the other companies and university.
“Our vision is to bring the power plant directly into the datacenter by integrating fuel cell stacks into every server cabinet, effectively eliminating energy loss that otherwise occurs in the energy supply chain and doubling the efficiency of traditional datacenters,” said Sean James, Senior Research Program Manager for Microsoft Global Foundation Services.
The ultimate aim of Microsoft and its partners is to create a less expensive and more sustainable model than traditional datacenter designs.
Source: Microsoft Green Blog