The Utah data center will be the country’s largest non-utility fuel cell installation when completed and will only use grid electricity as a back up. The data center will feature 30 Bloom Energy fuel cell units.
The 6 MW Bloom installation will be fully functional by mid-2013, eBay says. Each of the 30 Bloom Energy servers will generate 1.75 million kWh of electricity annually, and will be installed a few hundred feet from the center itself, virtually eliminating traditional utility grid losses, eBay says. The fuel cells will be powered by biogas, a fossil fuel alternative derived from renewable organic waste.
The new Bloom Energy project will be eBay’s fifth and largest renewable energy installation. The company operates a 650 kilowatt (kW) solar array and a 500 kW Bloom fuel cell installation at its San Jose headquarters, as well as a 100 kW solar array at its Denver data center. In April of this year, the company installed a 665 kW solar array spanning 72,000 square feet atop its existing, LEED-certified Utah data center.
The new data center will become eBay’s third facility in Utah, in addition to the existing LEED-certified data center in South Jordan, Utah, and a new customer service center planned to LEED standards in Draper, Utah. The internet auction company says it played a “central role” in the development and passage of Utah Senate Bill 12, earlier this year. The legislation allows non-utility energy consumers to buy and transmit power directly from renewable energy developers.
In February, eBay announced that it had used guidelines set by nonprofit environmental IT consortium Green Grid to help build a modular data center with a power usage effectiveness ratio of 1.35. The data center in Phoenix, Ariz, recorded the PUE ratio – a measurement trademarked by the Green Grid – over the course of one week in January 2012. The center has a best-case PUE as low as 1.26 for measurements taken in that month, according to a case study released by the Green Grid.