Feeds

eBay unveils data center that runs on fuel cells

Filthy backup diesel generators worry about job prospects

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications

Online bid bazaar eBay has plugged a much-hyped fuel cell technology into its new data center, as the company tries to increase the efficiency and reduce the environmental impact of its colossal bit barns.

The announcement of the new facility was made by eBay at a press event in Utah on Thursday. The company revealed that along with drawing its primary power from a fleet of Bloom Energy fuel cells, the data center will use incredibly dense server pods from HP and Dell, and has invested in renewable-tech company Ormat to build an off-site waste heat recovery facility.

Bloom Energy uncloaked in 2010 with promises of a hugely efficient fuel cell-powered future based on its solid oxide tech.

At the time, Google chief Larry Page said his company hoped to one day have "a whole data center running on this at some point – when they're ready".

Though Google is, as far as we can discern, not yet running an entire facility off of Bloom's fuel cells, eBay is, and believes this makes it the first bit barn in the world to use the tech. Google had not responded to questions at the time of writing.

So, what's the benefit? eBay reckons by using Bloom it can cut its CO2 emissions by some 49 per cent compared to its first-phase of the "Topaz" data center, of which the Bloom-powered bit barn is the "second phase" expansion. Use of the tech should increase availability and reliability of its infrastructure as well, eBay said.

Typical data centers run off the electricity grid via high-capacity substations that bring in power. If power cuts out, facilities typically use some kind of UPS or a giant flywheel to provide temporary power while everything cuts over to reliable but distinctly un-green diesel generators. One facility this hack toured used WW2-era submarine diesel generators because they were incredibly reliable.

With Bloom Energy's fuel cells, if the grid – in this case natural gas feeding the cells – cuts out, they'll run for a longer period of time before eBay needs to cut over to backup power, and this means it may weather grid outages without needing to fire up the sludge-burners.

In addition to eBay, Bloom Energy customers include Google, AT&T, Apple, NTT, and others. ®

The Power of One eBook: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

More from The Register

next story
Apple fanbois SCREAM as update BRICKS their Macbook Airs
Ragegasm spills over as firmware upgrade kills machines
Attack of the clones: Oracle's latest Red Hat Linux lookalike arrives
Oracle's Linux boss says Larry's Linux isn't just for Oracle apps anymore
THUD! WD plonks down SIX TERABYTE 'consumer NAS' fatboy
Now that's a LOT of porn or pirated movies. Or, you know, other consumer stuff
EU's top data cops to meet Google, Microsoft et al over 'right to be forgotten'
Plan to hammer out 'coherent' guidelines. Good luck chaps!
US judge: YES, cops or feds so can slurp an ENTIRE Gmail account
Crooks don't have folders labelled 'drug records', opines NY beak
Manic malware Mayhem spreads through Linux, FreeBSD web servers
And how Google could cripple infection rate in a second
FLAPE – the next BIG THING in storage
Find cold data with flash, transmit it from tape
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.