Another California data center turns to fuel cells

Gigaom

A small, but growing, amount of data centers in California are having fuel cells installed onsite, offering a cleaner and more direct way to access electricity compared to the power grid. The latest came on Monday, when telecommunications company CenturyLink (s CTL) announced that it’s bought a couple fuel cells from startup Bloom Energy to help power a data center in Irvine, California.

Fuel cells are devices that combine a fuel like natural gas with air and turn it into electricity through a chemical reaction. Bloom Energy’s fuel cells are “solid oxide fuel cells” that use a solid ceramic material as the electrolyte part of the fuel cell (if you think of it like a battery that has an electrolyte, an anode and a cathode).

Bloom EnergyCenturyLink’s data center in Irvine is operated by Savvis and the data center powers cloud, managed hosting and colocation services. Bloom Energy has…

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