Daimler through its  subsidiary NuCellSys is expanding the application spectrum of fuel cell technology in cooperation with Mercedes-Benz Research and Development North America (MBRDNA) and the Daimler Innovations Lab1886.  External partners for the use of automotive fuel cell systems in stationary energy supply systems are Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), Power Innovations (PI), and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).

Daimler is pointing tot the results of a study conducted by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), that indicates the electricity demand of data processing centers in the USA will increase to an estimated 140 billion kilowatt hours annually by 2020, which corresponds to the yearly production of about 50 power plants and annual CO₂ emissions of around 100 million metric tons.

According to Christian Mohrdieck, Head of Fuel Cells at Daimler and CEO of the Daimler subsidiary NuCellSys, “the market maturity of automotive fuel cell systems today is undisputed. They are ready for everyday use and represent a promising option for the mobility sector. But hydrogen’s potential outside the realm of the automobile – keyword energy, industrial and home solutions – is diverse and requires the development of new strategies. Economies of scale and modularization are important issues in this regard.” Mr. Mohrdieck indicated that a “hydrogen-based” carbon-free data processing center comprises fuel cells, electrolyzer, storage units, photovoltaic systems and wind farms. The partners offset the instability and variability of renewable energy sources with the combination of the systems.

The idea is that the data processing center’s basic energy needs are met by solar power plants and wind farms. In situations in which the solar and wind energy produced exceeds the data processing center’s requirements, the surplus energy can be used to produce hydrogen by means of electrolysis. The energy is thus stored instead of curtailing the generation of power.

If the data processing center’s energy requirements exceed the solar and wind energy being produced, or even if there is a power outage, the fuel cell systems generate electricity using the hydrogen stored previously. The use of automotive fuel cell systems helps to simplify the generation and supply of energy for data processing centers and to significantly improve the carbon footprint. The traditional energy supply system accounts for about 30-40% of the costs for building a new data processing center. The new energy supply approach can lower the total cost of ownership by eliminating the need for diesel generators, central interruptible power supply systems, switchgear, and expensive copper wiring.