Mannheim, February 6, 2024
In collaboration with Microsoft and Ballard Power Systems, Caterpillar Inc. has demonstrated the viability of using hydrogen fuel cells to supply reliable backup power for data centers. The test project was conducted in a Microsoft data center in Cheyenne, Wyoming. The project simulated a 48-hour backup power event where a hydrogen fuel cell was integrated into the data center’s electrical plant to support its critical load.
Caterpillar Inc. tests hydrogen energy solution with microgrid control
The objective of the project was to test the capabilities of hydrogen fuel cell systems to power multi-megawatt data centers, ensuring uninterrupted power supply to meet 99.999 percent uptime requirements. The Microsoft data center is located at an altitude of 1,855 m (6,086 ft) above sea level in below-freezing conditions. The project simulated a 48-hour backup power event where a hydrogen fuel cell was used to support the data center’s critical load. For this purpose, a Caterpillar Microgrid Controller was used to operate two Cat power grid stabilization (PGS) 1260 battery energy storage systems along with a 1.5 MW hydrogen fuel cell.
At a Microsoft data center in Wyoming, a backup power event was simulated in order to test the use of hydrogen fuel cell systems for uninterrupted power supply.
Apart from leading the project, Caterpillar provided the overall system integration, power electrics, and microgrid controls. “This successful collaboration with Microsoft and Ballard demonstrates the potential of hydrogen fuel cells to help data centers address their critical power needs while reducing their emissions” says Jaime Mineart, Senior Vice President of Caterpillar Electric Power.