Fuel cell technology for data centers isn't widely used yet, but for some companies in areas with high electricity costs or where there are mandates -- or tax incentives -- to find alternative energy systems, moving off the public grid and plugging into an unconventional power source may make financial sense.
Products like Bloom Energy Servers convert methane from natural gas or biogas, both of which are cleaner alternatives to coal and oil. An individual Bloom Server produces 200 kW of energy and can be stacked to add more energy capacity to meet the particular data center's needs.
While larger companies like Apple have made significant investments in fuel cell technology to power their data centers, most traditional facility operators may be reluctant to let go of their generators and embrace this relatively new source of energy. But in areas where the power grid is unreliable, a fuel cell installation may be one way to save some green while keeping the lights on.