eBay has set a bold new vision for powering commerce with clean energy, announcing plans to build the next phase of the company's flagship data centre with renewable energy as its primary power source. Partnering with Bloom Energy, eBay is building the country's largest non-utility fuel cell installation. Renewable energy typically supplements the electric grid, but eBay is designing renewable energy into the core of its global commerce platform, incorporating 30 Bloom Energy servers into the new data centre’s energy architecture. The electric utility grid will be used only as backup.
“We believe the future of commerce can be greener,” said John Donahoe, President and CEO of eBay Inc. “Technology-led innovation is changing retail and revolutionizing how people shop and pay. We also want to revolutionize how shopping is powered. We are embracing disruptive energy technology and designing it into our core data centre energy architecture. Running our data centres primarily on reliable, renewable energy, we intend to shape a future for commerce that is more environmentally sustainable at its core.”
The new six-megawatt Bloom installation is being designed and engineered into eBay’s expanded data centre facility in Utah, and will be fully functional by mid-2013. Each of the 30 Bloom Energy servers will generate 1.75 million kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity annually, and will be installed a few hundred feet from the centre itself, virtually eliminating traditional utility grid losses. eBay will use the Bloom fuel cells—which generate on-site power 24 hours a day, 365 days a year—to replace the large and expensive backup generators and UPS components that are historically utilized less than 1% of the year. eBay's fuel cells will be powered by biogas, a fossil fuel alternative derived from renewable organic waste.
The Bloom servers will power millions of transactions by eBay's more than 102 million active users, who generate more than US$69 billion in merchandise volume annually. The data centre also will power activity across eBay's other global commerce platforms, including PayPal and StubHub, enabling merchants, retail artners, buyers and sellers to do greener commerce.The new Bloom Energy project will be eBay’s fifth and largest renewable energy installation. eBay operates a 650 kilowatt solar array and a 500 kW Bloom fuel cell installation at its San Jose headquarters, as well as a 100 kW solar array at its Denver data centre. In April of this year, the company installed a 665 kW solar array spanning 72,000 sq ftatop its existing, LEED certified Utah data centre.