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).
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