European technology giant Atos and renewable energy production and storage company HDF Energy are partnering to develop a hydrogen power solution for data centers.

As part of the venture, the two companies will build a "full production data center" powered by hydrogen in 2023. An Atos spokesperson told DCD that the size of the data center is not yet decided, but that it is expected to consume between 1-3MW.

An off-grid data center

Atos will develop the hardware, software and integration service, while HDF Energy will supply the "Renewstable" hydrogen fuel cell power plant [Editor's note: Renewstable is the name of the product, not a typo].

Renewstable combines solar/wind power with an electrolyzer (to produce hydrogen), hydrogen storage, and a fuel cell (to consume hydrogen). It also involves a lithium-ion battery.

"Either the hydrogen will be produced on-site using the Renewstable power plant from HDF Energy (which produces hydrogen locally using solar or wind farms included in the power plant), either the hydrogen will be supplied by a gas pipeline and the electricity will be produced by HDF Energy's Hypower power plant, thanks to its fuel cells," the spokesperson explained.

"The goal is to make the data center energy-independent from the grid, and supplied 100 percent by decarbonated energy. The concept of 'back-up' will be integrated into the design of the power plant."

Hydrogen is seen by the data center industry as a possible power source for when the grid fails, replacing the dirty diesel that has helped facilities through power outages like those seen in Texas this month. Diesel not only contributes to climate change, but the local air pollution can make data center planning approval difficult.

Microsoft is currently testing hydrogen power at its data center in Salt Lake City, while Singapore's Keppel is looking to harness its liquid natural gas experience to develop hydrogen data centers.

“We are very excited to develop the first-of-its-kind green data center with Atos," Damien Havard, CEO at HDF, said.

"HDF is a pioneer in hydrogen-energy and it is very important for us to demonstrate that our Hydrogen-to-Power solutions are suitable for customers with a strategic need for a reliable electricity supply. This further development into the digital industry, where energy consumption is increasing every day, opens up a considerable worldwide market for us. The HDF-Atos partnership offers the first unique and sustainable infrastructure for this huge market.”