First HotModule in a high-performance computer centre

Posted on July 30, 2007

  • Fuel cell and absorption refrigeration unit provide electrical power and cooling for a server suite
  • A European first: using biomethane for CO2-neutral operation of a HotModule fuel cell
  • Cogeneration principle doubles energy efficiency

Ottobrunn / Munich – T-Systems officially commissioned a unique highly efficient and CO2-neutral system for generating electrical power at its Munich computer centre on 26 July. From now on, the energy and cooling needs of a server suit will be met by the combination of a HotModule fuel cell system from Tognum subsidiary CFC Solutions GmbH and an absorption refrigeration unit. The order for installing the HotModule, with a rated electrical capacity of 250 kW, was placed by Munich-based PASM Power and Air Condition Solution Management GmbH & Co. KG. It is responsible for energy procurement for its parent company Deutsche Telekom AG, and it generates all energy-based solutions for the parent company.
As the computer centre needs nearly as much energy for cooling as for electricity on an annual basis, the cogeneration principle utilised by the installed system provides an ideal solution. It allows electrical power and thermal energy to be generated simultaneously in a single process, and it consumes only around half as much primary energy as separate generation of cooling and electricity.
Christof von Branconi, Member of the Managing Board of Tognum AG, Business Area Manager for Onsite Energy Systems: ‘We are pleased that our HotModule can now demonstrate its capabilities in a high-performance computer centre. It enables not only efficient and environmentally friendly operation, but also reliable operation, because it can provide the necessary electrical power and cooling to the servers independently of the public power grid, and it supplies an extremely constant voltage free of external network influences.’
On the occasion of the dedication of the fuel system, Bavarian State Secretary for Economic Affairs Hans Spitzner emphasized the uniqueness of using biomethane in a stationary fuel cell installation and characterised the project as a ‘further milestone’ in energy technology.
Biomethane allows environmentally friendly system operation. The fuel is produced from energy crops (feed maize) grown in the Munich region, and after being purified it is fed into the gas network. It is procured in a manner similar to green electricity, which ensures that the amount of biomethane consumed in the computer centre is balanced by an equal production amount. Here the combined biomethane and fuel system is CO2-neutral in operation. This is because the maize plants absorb exactly as much CO2 while they are growing as the amount that is released to the atmosphere when the gas is used.