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Rocket Science in the Data Center

April 20, 2011
at 10:00 am PST

I have been involved in a lot of Data Center projects over the years and during the design discussions someone almost invariably observes:  “it’s not rocket science.  We’re just building a Data Center.”

It turns out there is rocket science in some Data Centers after all.

A handful of server environments now incorporate hydrogen fuel cells, the same technology that helped U.S. spacecraft reach the moon as part of the Gemini and Apollo space missions in the 1960s and are still used in space shuttles today.  Data Center industry publications have in recent years reported fuel cells helping power server environments belonging to the First National Bank of Omaha, Fujitsu and Verizon.

Hydrogen fuel cells combine hydrogen and oxygen to create electricity and produce heat and water as byproducts.  They typically run on natural gas, which although not a renewable energy does emits less carbon, sulfur and nitrogen than other sources.  Probably the best known fuel cell on the market is Bloom Energy’s “Bloom Box” that was profiled by 60 Minutes in 2010.

So, are we at Cisco using fuel cells in Data Centers?  Watch below to see why or why not.

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