eBay will leverage environmentally friendly fuel cells to power an extension of its data center in Utah and using the electrical grid only as backup.
eBay officials said June 21 that they plan to use 30 biogas fuel cells as the only power source for the new facility, which is expected to go online in the middle of 2013 and will represent the latest effort by the online auction giant to embrace renewable energy to power its facilities.
The fuel cells, from Bloom Energy, will be situated a few hundred feet from the data center which will essentially eliminate power losses that are the norm on utility grids and will generate 1.75 million kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity every year. The Bloom installation will offer a combined capacity of six megawatts.
The cells will run all day every day, replacing the backup generators and UPS components that are used less than 1 percent of the time, and will power not only the eBay transaction platform, but also on other businesses, including its PayPal payment service and StubHub online ticket site, the officials said.
"We believe the future of commerce can be greener," eBay President and CEO John Donahoe said in a statement. "Technology-led innovation is changing retail and revolutionizing how people shop and pay. We also want to revolutionize how shopping is powered. We are embracing disruptive energy technology and designing it into our core data center energy architecture. Running our data centers primarily on reliable, renewable energy, we intend to shape a future for commerce that is more environmentally sustainable at its core."
The rapidly growing amount of power consumed by data centers across the country has become an increasing focus of tech companies and federal agencies alike over the past decade. That attention has grown in recent years with the rise of companies like Google, Facebook and Amazon--as well as the expanding businesses of established vendors like Apple and Microsoft--which are building massive and dense data centers to power their Web-based businesses.
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