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Microsoft uses hydrogen to produce backup power
US group to replace diesel generators with electrolysers by 2030

Bill Gates and Windows, cloud services and IT products – these are probably what everyone first associates with Microsoft. However, like other large tech outfits, the US computing giant often makes headlines with progressive energy projects. Microsoft aims to be carbon-negative by 2030, withdrawing more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere than it emits. Indeed, the company aims to have completely recovered its emissions since inception by 2050.

On this quest, Microsoft has looked into replacing its diesel generators with hydrogen-powered fuel cells. The verdict was positive: the company powered a row of data centres with electricity generated from green hydrogen for 48 consecutive hours. Now the company plans to dispense of all its diesel-powered generators by 2030.

According to a statement by Microsoft headquarters in Redmond (Wa.) if the trend observed in recent years continues, fuel cells will be able to compete with diesel-powered generators on price in one to two years.

In fact, Microsoft doesn’t intend to stop there: The tech giant plans to operate electrolysers to supply the fuel cells with hydrogen produced in-house. Moreover, the resulting energy storage capacity could be used not only to provide backup power for its operations, but also to support the public grid during shortages of solar and wind energy.

This would improve Microsoft electrolyser capacity utilisation while contributing to reducing power supply emissions year round – and not just intermittently during blackouts or while testing generators.

Photo credit:, Timofeev Vladimir

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