DANBURY, Conn. — FuelCell Energy Inc. has announced a project utilizing a stationary fuel cell power plant to support Microsoft’s latest data center research project. The power plant will use renewable biogas generated by a wastewater treatment facility as the fuel source to generate clean, carbon-neutral electricity for Microsoft’s Data Plant project in Cheyenne, Wyo. This sub-megawatt power plant project will enable Microsoft to evaluate the effectiveness of using fuel cell power plants to efficiently use on-site biogas to power future sustainable data centers.

“With the demand for renewable energy resources outstripping available power supplies today, Microsoft is researching new methods to help our operations become more efficient and environmentally sustainable,” said Gregg McKnight, general manager, Data Center Advanced Development at Microsoft. “We’re excited by the potential for using stationary fuel cells to capture and recycle natural byproducts like biogas. This project will study methods to provide an economical and reliable power supply for data centers that is also scalable and economical for use by other industries.”

The Direct FuelCell® (DFC®) power plant will be installed at the Dry Creek Water Reclamation Facility in Cheyenne, Wyo., by spring 2013. The fuel cell plant will provide 200 kilowatts of power for Microsoft’s Data Plant which will be housed in a modular IT pre-assembled component (ITPAC) that will house servers to recreate a data center environment. Excess power not used by the data center will be provided to the water reclamation facility to offset its electric costs. In the event of a grid outage, the data center’s fuel cell will be configured to operate independently to provide continuous power.

Chip Bottone, president and chief executive officer, FuelCell Energy Inc., said “The economics of our on-site power generation solutions are well suited for data centers, including the ability to use renewable biogas as a fuel source to provide carbon neutral power.”

A diverse coalition of entities is participating in bringing the project to fruition, including the Cheyenne Board of Public Utilities, Cheyenne Light, Fuel and Power Co., Western Research Institute, the University of Wyoming, the Wyoming Business Council, and Cheyenne LEADS, the economic development organization for Cheyenne and Laramie County, Wyo.

For more information, visit www.fuelcellenergy.com.

Publication date: 12/17/2012