Why eBay is powering its Utah data center with fuel cells


Transcription results:
Session Name: Energy Blooms at eBay’s Innovative Data Center in Utah: eBay and Bloom Energy

S1: Announcer
S2: Video voice
S3: Ucilia Wang
S4: Peter Gross
S5: Dean Nelson
S6: Audience Member 1

Announcer 00:00
There’s perhaps nothing more important than green and sustainability. We have a panel that will delve into this topic, led by Ucilia Wang, and she’s going to come out. The panels are going to come out and you’re going to be treated to a video first, followed by an interesting panel discussion, so let’s welcome them.


Felix Hoenikker

Use the grid as back up? Even though they just pointed out electricity is really cheap in utah? you can also use a bunch of small generators. Argument doesn’t make much sense, so what is the real reason? Because we know its not cost…..or was it subsidized?

A engineer

You’re missing the point. Using the grid as backup means exactly that… They are primarily powered by the fuel cells, and in the event of a fuel cell failure, they switch seamlessly to the regular grid. A fuel cell is way cheaper (in total cost of ownership) and more reliable than “a bunch of small generators”.

It is really, really important to them that the power never goes out, and they are willing to pay a premium for it. They are in Utah for the cheap grid power, and use fuel cells which are the cheapest way to get 99.99%+ reliability.

Curt Gibson

Off topic; For the call center on that same site they installed two 1MW Generac Gemini generators. Generac parallels the generators using controls and switching in the generators themselves. This allows feeding redundant paths and N+1 capacity very easily.


Generator is just burning the fuel to generate power, not efficient and clean. Fuel cell generates power in a chemical way, very efficient and clean.

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