NTT America (news) [a subsidiary of NTT Communications (NYSE:NTT, news, filings)] is taking a turn for the green at its Lundy data center in San Jose. The international network and cloud provider is bringing in five Bloom Energy Servers as part of its overall energy conservation efforts. The entire data center industry has been trying out all sorts of alternative energy ideas, and Bloom's fuel cell technology is an interesting choice.
The Bloom Energy Servers will be powered by biogas, piped in via a natural gas pipeline from a California dairy farm. In all, they will have a total capacity of 500kW, which will allow NTT America to produce 4.2 million killowat-hours annually on-site - an amount it won't need to take from the grid. That's just a fraction of the facility's needs of course, according to NTT's site it has 130,700 square feet and a 21MW power feed. But it's not an insignificant amount either.
I'm generally skeptical of most corporate environmental initatives as a mixture of tokenism and hot air. But because of the scale of the datacenter industry's energy needs and the steady stream of upgrades and new greenfield facilities, the data center industry may be the first place we see alternative energy finally take hold in way that is justifiable economically as well as environmentally.
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