ECL has introduced its first modular, sustainable, off-grid data centre that uses green hydrogen as its primary power source. ECL will deliver data centres in 1MW blocks with 99.9999% uptime.
The company has also announced $7m in seed financing co-led by Molex Ventures and Hyperwise Ventures. Lily Yeung, Vice President at Molex Ventures and Nathan Shuchami, Managing Partner at Hyperwise Ventures join ECL Founder and CEO Yuval Bachar as members of the ECL board of directors. The funds will be used by ECL to expand its market presence, and in the construction of its first data centre at the company’s California headquarters, with completion scheduled for Q2 2023.
Optimised for use by mid-sized data centre operators – typically large companies with a mix of cloud and on-premises IT environments – ECL’s Data-centre-as-a-Service is two-thirds the total cost of ownership (TCO) of traditional colocation data centre providers when measured over five years. The community-integrated data centre design consumes no local resources, including power or water, and operates with zero emissions at extremely low noise levels. ECL’s modularity and lack of dependence on local utilities also means that its data centres can be designed and delivered much faster than others, reducing planning and construction cycles from between 18 to 24 months to between six and nine months.
While other data centre providers have deployed hydrogen fuel cells as backup power supplies, and with some conducting trials of systems forecast for production delivery in three-to-five years, ECL is the first provider to deliver a fully-green hydrogen-powered data centre. This leapfrog innovation is enabled by bringing together several disruptive technologies including green hydrogen-based power generation, battery energy storage and highly reliable power architecture without dependence on the utility grid. This maximises efficiency and time to delivery and all but eliminates waste.
Cooling innovations increase Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE)
ECL cooling innovations enable much higher density-per-rack than traditional data centre providers, a strong benefit given the increasing per-server power consumption driven by accelerating chip and system density. Water created as a by-product of hydrogen-based power generation is used to cool ECL’s server racks, eliminating the need for external water sources. Combining this with proprietary rear door heat exchange technology results in lower Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) ratios than any other colocation data centre provider.
With PUE of 1 representing optimal efficiency, traditional colocation providers average approximately 1.57 across all their data centres with the best-of-class able to achieve approximately 1.2 with an average of 8KW of power per rack. ECL will achieve PUE of 1.05 across all of its data centres, with up to 50KW per rack. By achieving meaningfully lower PUE ratios and higher rack densities, ECL’s customers will benefit from significantly lower cost of real estate, space and power consumption.
ECL Lightning data centre management platform
ECL data centres feature an advanced full data centre management system – ECL Lightning – which is used to monitor and control every aspect of the ECL data centre, from power generation to power delivery and rack cooling, in real time. Its unique and intuitive UI provides comprehensive, clear and simple monitoring, which enables finite control of all aspects of operating the data centre.
Networking flexibility enables wide range of locations
ECL data centres are built on its customers’ sites of choice, with or without existing network access. When no fibre is present at the selected site, an ECL partner provides a fibre backbone along with cloud interconnection via its network-as-a-service platform, while ECL provides last-mile access using the customer’s provider of choice. This flexibility in network provisioning, coupled with ECL’s green hydrogen-based primary power, means that data centre locations no longer need to be driven by network or power grid availability.
Hydrogen among safest fuels
Hydrogen is considered among the safest fuels available on the market today and is considered far safer, when handled appropriately, than gasoline, natural gas, jet fuel or diesel, according to the US Department of Energy’s Hydrogen and Fuel Cells Technologies Office. As the US Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy notes, “Hydrogen is non-toxic. In addition, because hydrogen is much lighter than air, it dissipates rapidly when it is released, allowing for relatively rapid dispersal of the fuel in case of a leak. As more and more hydrogen demonstrations get underway, hydrogen’s safety record can grow and build confidence that hydrogen can be as safe as the fuels in widespread use today.”
“The innovations we are announcing today set a new bar for flexibility and sustainability in the global data centre industry,” says Yuval. “Never before has hydrogen been harnessed for use as the primary power source for the data centre and that, combined with the unmatched efficiency of our cooling system and our emissions-free operations, is unique in the world today. I would like to thank our investors at Molex and Hyperwise, whose support for our vision and recognition of our capabilities is enabling us to change the very nature and future of this industry.”