07 Jul 2022

Study to find out if green hydrogen can power Midlands data centres

Permission granted for Amazon data centre outside Drogheda

Data centres are a big consumer of power

A contract is being offered to research the possibility of developing environmentally friendly hydrogen in the midlands that could fuel data centres in the region.

Green hydrogen is a hydrogen-produced fuel obtained from electrolysis of water with electricity generated by low-carbon power sources.

Offaly County Council is inviting companies to bid for the Research Project / Feasibility Study "Exploring Data Centre Integration with Renewable Energy and Green Hydrogen in the Midlands" contract.

It says this project will research how best to shape the development of the energy transition project at Rhode (Rhode Green Energy Park) to match the data centre sector requirements and ambitions.

The tender says part of the aim is to attract significant inward investment and employments creation.

The council says the the technical strand of the research will focus on energy systems integration challenges for data centres in the Midlands.

Specifically, the council wants to find out how a very low carbon operational configuration can be achieved given the prevailing conditions and renewable energy availability.

The research will be carried out in co-operation with existing data centre operators and those with plans for expansion in Ireland.

The contract also involves the preparation of an innovation plan that can be applied to develop a successful concept.

Offaly County Council says its project partners is Rhode Green Energy Park are North Offaly Development Fund (NODF), a community company establish after the demise of the ESB Power Station at Rhode.

NODF have secured funding under the GNI Innovation Fund (Gas Networks Ireland) to research the creation of a green hydrogen demonstration hub at Rhode Green Energy Park, integrating energy from renewable electricity with the gas network. The project partners on this feasibility study are SSE electricity and Bord na Mona.

The council says it is anticipated that the NODF feasibility study above will run in paralell with the the “Exploring Data Centre Integration with Renewable Energy and Green Hydrogen in the Midlands” study contract it is offering.

Concerns have emerged in recent weeks over the large amount of power going from Ireland's national electricity grid to power data centres.

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