Siemens, Microsoft and FuelCell Energy Come Together to Build Zero-Carbon Cheyenne, WY Data Center
Wyoming can now add biogas fuel cell power to its technology and energy portfolios.
"Growing Wyoming's technology sector has been a priority and Wyoming is seeing results," Governor Matt Mead said. "This alternative energy project is not only a zero-carbon data center, it is more. It is a laboratory for biogas and fuel cell research. Wyoming is on the cutting edge."
A cable-cutting ceremony for the plant begins at 10 a.m. on November 6 at the Dry Creek Water Reclamation Facility located at 8911 Campstool Road.
The project uses biogas produced at the Dry Creek facility to power the fuel cell at the Data Plant. The biogas is a byproduct of municipal wastewater treatment. Anaerobic bacteria produce the biogas while stabilizing solids removed from wastewater. The fuel cell electrochemically converts the biogas into electricity to power the Microsoft IT server container.
The fuel cell plant is expected to produce 300 kilowatts of renewable power while the datacenter will only use about 200 kW. The remaining kilowatts will be delivered back to the wastewater treatment plant to reduce its electric bills.
FuelCell Energy, Inc. of Connecticut developed the fuel cell technology to convert unused biogas into ultra-clean power generation solutions. The plant uses an electrochemical reaction to generate electricity and heat. Virtually no air pollutants are released because of the absence of combustion.
Siemens worked with Microsoft and FuelCell Energy to engineer and install power monitoring equipment for the data center. This technology measures the performance and energy output of the fuel cell so enough consistent, high-quality power is delivered to run the data center 24-7. By utilizing this intelligent software, alternative resources like biogas and technologies such as fuel cells can be a proven source of reliable energy for critical installations.
Other advantages include reliable base load power for continuous electricity and heat and on-site power production to improve reliability without the cost of electrical transmission and distribution.
A coalition of industry, University of Wyoming, Business Council, Cheyenne LEADS, Cheyenne Board of Public Utilities, the Western Research Institute and state and local government partners led to the project coming to fruition. University of Wyoming students will have access to the plant for further research.
"This project has been a collaboration of many organizations. We are very proud to have had the opportunity to be a part of this fascinating project," states Randy Bruns, CEO of Cheyenne LEADS.
The State Loan and Investment Board, comprised of the five statewide elected officials, approved a $1.5 million Wyoming Business Council Business Ready Community grant request from the city of Cheyenne in 2012 to help fund the $7.6 million plant. Microsoft covered the remaining cost.
Microsoft's imprint on Wyoming's capital city has grown steadily. The Redmond, Wash.-based company has invested nearly $500 million on the Data Plant and multiple data centers already constructed and currently under construction in the North Range Business Park near the National Center for Atmospheric Research's Wyoming Supercomputing Center in Cheyenne.
How the Power Monitoring System Works
• The Siemens software and hardware monitors the amount of biogas being sent to the fuel cell, the conversion to usable energy, and the fuel cell output to ensure that enough electricity is created throughout this process to reliably power Microsoft's datacenter.
• The technology also includes predictive demand alert capability so the data center operators are made immediately aware of any power quality or energy demand issues.
As part of the integrated solution, Siemens also provided environmental controls for this project inside the datacenter to manage air temperature, flow, and humidity. Siemens also provided circuit breakers that deliver energy to the servers and protect power supply in cases of low or high energy levels within the container.
About Cheyenne LEADS
Cheyenne LEADS is a private, not-for-profit economic development organization serving as the economic development entity for the City of Cheyenne and Laramie County, Wyoming. LEADS can assist non-retail businesses in all phases of relocation or expansion.
About FuelCell Energy
Direct FuelCell® power plants are generating ultra-clean, efficient and reliable power at more than 50 locations worldwide. With more than 300 megawatts of power generation capacity installed or in backlog, FuelCell Energy is a global leader in providing ultra-clean baseload distributed generation to utilities, industrial operations, universities, municipal water treatment facilities, government installations and other customers around the world. The Company's power plants have generated more than 2.8 billion kilowatt hours of ultra-clean power using a variety of fuels including renewable biogas from wastewater treatment and food processing, as well as clean natural gas.
Siemens AG (Berlin and Munich) is a global technology powerhouse that has stood for engineering excellence, innovation, quality, reliability and internationality for more than 165 years. The company is active in more than 200 countries, focusing on the areas of electrification, automation and digitalization. One of the world's largest producers of energy-efficient, resource-saving technologies, Siemens is No. 1 in offshore wind turbine construction, a leading supplier of combined cycle turbines for power generation, a leading provider of power transmission solutions and a pioneer in infrastructure solutions and automation and software solutions for industry. The company is also a leading supplier of medical imaging equipment – such as computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging systems – and a leader in laboratory diagnostics as well as clinical IT. In fiscal 2013, which ended on September 30, 2013, revenue from continuing operations totaled €75.9 billion and income from continuing operations €4.2 billion. At the end of September 2013, Siemens had around 362,000 employees worldwide on the basis of continuing operations. Further information is available on the Internet at www.siemens.com.