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Bloom’s Energy Server® platform solves major challenges facing AI data center power needs

Extreme Networks 1.2 MW ES5 Microgrid

SAN JOSE -- Some recent and prominent warnings about electricity demand by data centers and AI exceeding supply in the U.S. market presents a significant opportunity for Bloom Energy and its proprietary energy platform technology, Jeff Barber, Bloom Energy’s Vice President of Global Data Center Sales, says. 

“Vast swaths of the United States are at risk of running short of power as electricity-hungry data centers and clean-technology factories proliferate around the country, leaving utilities and regulators grasping for credible plans to expand the nation’s creaking power grid,” the Washington Post reported earlier this month.

The story continues:

  • In Georgia, demand for industrial power is surging to record highs, with the projection of new electricity use for the next decade now 17 times what it was only recently. 
  • Arizona Public Service, the largest utility in that state, is also struggling to keep up, projecting it will be out of transmission capacity before the end of the decade absent major upgrades.
  • Northern Virginia needs the equivalent of several large nuclear power plants to serve all the new data centers planned and under construction. Texas, where electricity shortages are becoming routine on hot summer days, faces the same dilemma.

Barber says Bloom’s ability to deliver power 24/7 within a few months to support customer needs will help fill the gaps. With more than 1 gigawatt of deployment, Bloom is a market leader for distributed baseload, always-on power generation with its proven solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) technology and groundbreaking Energy Server® platform.   

Barber highlights the recent offering unveiled by Bloom, the Be Flexible™ Energy Server, a new flexible load following solution designed specifically for customers like data centers, EV chargers and commercial industries. This solution rapidly handles fluctuations in supply and demand for heavy power consumers, ensuring them power certainty and quality while delivering significant cost savings. 

Added Aman Joshi, Bloom’s chief commercial officer: “I have been in the power generation business for more than a decade and selling gas turbines for the past six years. Providing utilities with a significantly cleaner dispatchable source of electricity with Be Flexible, which ramps up and down significantly more than turbines, reciprocating engines and other alternatives, will enable them to add more renewable electricity in the mix.”

In cities around the world, variable load, power-intensive applications, such as AI data centers, EV charging stations and commercial developments are rapidly coming online. Intermittent electricity sources are struggling to meet this demand, leaving substantial shortages in power. 

The new “Be Flexible” offering can operate on either side of the meter, providing both utilities and end customers with an on-demand solution. With the “Be Flexible” offering utilities are better able to deal with disparities between their peak and non-peak demands due to its dispatchable nature. Customers behind the meter are better able to accommodate the variability of their loads.

“We are already working with many data center clients across the U.S. and we are poised to do more,” Barber said. “With Be Flexible, our new load following capability, Bloom has now extended its value to new applications where the ability to ramp power output up or down quickly is required to address a customer’s variable load and demand throughout the day.”

“The rapid response time of ‘Be Flexible,’ due to its solid state architecture, is immensely important when we consider the intense energy fluctuating demands like those from AI data centers, which we are increasingly dependent on,” said Peter Gross, a leading expert on data centers and advisor to Bloom Energy. “Data center power demands can nowadays easily jump from 50 percent to 100 percent in a matter of seconds. A power source that can’t deliver in such a short time will trip the entire site’s power, causing costly disruptions.”

Bloom executives attended Nvidia’s GTC 24 for the first time to discuss its energy technology and the flexibility and reliability the energy servers provide, specifically to AI data centers:

  • Quick Ramp-to-Power: The Bloom Energy Server generates electricity through the direct conversion of fuels like natural gas, biogas or hydrogen, eliminating multiple energy conversion processes and the mechanical inertia of combustion-based solutions such as turbines. This enables them to reach the target power more than five times faster than other power generation technology.
  • Cost Advantages: Compared to gas turbines where the efficiency dramatically reduces at lower loads compared to full load, load fluctuation has minimal impact on the efficiency of Bloom’s Energy Server. This provides as much as a 50 percent cost advantage depending on the application.
  • Sustainability: CO2 emissions from Bloom’s Energy Server are significantly lower (up to 50 percent at part load) and minimally impacted by load fluctuation compared to gas turbines. They require practically no water during operation and emit no NOx or SOx particulates because they operate through electrochemical, non-combustion processes.

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