Netherlands data center company NorthC is taking an important new step towards further sustainability improvements. The company’s facility in Groningen, in the north of the Netherlands, will become the first data center in Europe to install fuel cells that run on green hydrogen. The hydrogen cells in Groningen are expected to be operational by the middle of June. This will result in considerable reductions in CO2 emissions. NorthC is investigating whether this hydrogen technology can also be applied in the company’s other data centers.The 500 KW hydrogen cell module that will be installed in the new NorthC data center in Groningen will save tens of thousands of liters of diesel on an annual basis. Burning this amount of diesel would produce more than 78 tons of CO2. That is equal to 24 cars driving the average number of kilometers for Dutch people (32 km per day) for a year, or 20,000 smartphones being charged every day for a year. Only water (H2O) is released when green hydrogen is burned. Additional hydrogen modules can be added as needed.The hydrogen cells that will be installed in the Groningen data center are more expensive than traditional generators that run on diesel. However, the costs are expected to fall rapidly because of rapidly increasing fuel prices and the further development and growth of the hydrogen sector – particularly in the Groningen region. Additionally, the hydrogen cells have a very long service life of 20 years or more. For existing generators that run on diesel, NorthC is investigating whether it is possible and cost-effective to make them suitable for hydrogen. While this is less efficient than hydrogen fuel cells, which convert H2 directly into electrical energy, it would significantly reduce emissions by more than 80% and further contribute to sustainability.Data centers usually have several emergency power generators that run on diesel to guarantee the availability of the digital services on which our society depends in the event of a power failure. Although these diesel generators are rarely actually needed, they should be checked regularly – on a monthly basis – to ensure that they are working correctly. This process results in the consumption of diesel fuel and, with the large number of emergency power generators in all data centers in our country, that represents a considerable amount of diesel.