Iceland trials green hydrogen for data centre backup

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Iceland's national powerco has teamed up with Verne Global to trial and deploy hydrogen fuel cells as a sustainable back-up option for its Icelandic data centre campus.

Iceland's grid is already almost 100% green with the country's government confirming it has the highest share of renewable energy in any national total energy budget. However, for data centre backup, fossil fuels are still required.

Putting an end to this, Landsvirkjun, is working with Verne Global to assess green hydrogen, with Icelandic New Energy overseeing the project and producing a study.

Icelandic New Energy was established in 1999 to promote the use of hydrogen fuel in Iceland. Its establishment followed a decision from Iceland parliament in 1998 to convert vehicle and fishing fleets to hydrogen produced from renewable energy by 2050.

Dominic Ward, CEO at Verne Global said: “We’re constantly searching for ways to improve our already market-leading sustainability credentials, so we jumped at the opportunity to work with Landsvirkjun and Icelandic New Energy to turn even our back-up data centre power ‘green'."

The stakeholders said their project is a first of its kind for Iceland. Crucially the hydrogen will be produced with Iceland’s renewable energy, meaning the solution is effectively a sustainable replacement for gas.

Verne Global’s 40 acre data centre campus hosts specialist data center services for organisations running high intensity compute workloads, including AI, machine learning, high performance computing (HPC) and supercomputing

Through this trial project, in the unlikely event of disruption to its primary power supply, Verne Global will use renewable hydrogen-powered generation to maintain its data centre operations.

“We’re really looking forward to working with Verne Global on this project and helping them further capitalise on Iceland’s inimitable ability to provide green energy,” said Hörður Arnarson, CEO, Landsvirkjun. “We’re proud to undertake this pioneering project with an industry leader, which will in turn provide us with key insights into leveraging hydrogen power across Iceland and beyond.”