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SK ecoplant pioneers Singapore’s First SOFC-based Data Center in Collaboration with China’s GDS, Marking an Entry into the Southeast Asian Market

SKecoplant leads the global fuel cell market by supplying SOFCs to GDS, China's largest data center developer, for their Singapore facility, marking the first SOFC use in the country.

  • SK ecoplant delivers fuel cells to a Singaporean data center built by GDS, the largest data center enterprise in China
  • Fuel cells are seen as a reliable distributed power source for data center power supply systems and garnering “attention”
  • In Singapore, the world’s data center hub, there is a growing emphasis on hydrogen adoption, symbolizing “green light” for additional orders in the realm of stable power supply
  • Bloom Energy’s SOFCs are emerging as a “trend” in the global market due to its unmatched efficiency
SK ecoplant secured an order for a data center fuel cell project planned for construction in Singapore by GDS, China’s leading data center development and operation firm. SK ecoplant will supply the world’s most efficient SOFCs to the data center built by GDS and oversee the entire fuel cell package’s EPC. This move is expected to pave the way for the adoption of fuel cell systems as a prevailing power supply solution in Singapore, a recognized global data center hub. The photo shows SK ecoplant’s CEO, Kyung-il Park (left), and GDS’s Chairman, William Wei Huang, commemorating the signing of the “Collaboration Agreement for the Development of Fuel Cell-Linked Data Center Business” in August of last year.

SK ecoplant, an environment and energy firm, has secured a contract to provide solid oxide fuel cells (SOEC) to a data center power supply system under construction in Singapore by GDS, China’s largest data center development and operation company.

On September 4, SK ecoplant announced its contract win to supply and install fuel cells for GDS’s upcoming data center in Singapore. GDS, headquartered in Shanghai, holds the position of China’s largest data center developer and operator, boasting over 100 data centers and serving more than 830 global customers.

This cooperation was executed in accordance with the “Collaboration Agreement for the Development of Fuel Cell-linked Data Center Business” signed by SK ecoplant and GDS in August of last year. Notably, this marks the first application of SOFC is in a Singapore data center, highlighting both companies’ commitment to promoting sustainable development through renewable energy revitalization.

Within this project, SK ecoplant will assume responsibility for the entire fuel cell package EPC including the supply of fuel cells to the GDS’s data center. The SOFC in supplied this instance represents a third-generation fuel cell, boasting the highest power generation efficiency among existing fuel cell technologies. It serves as a leading urban distributed power source, capable of delivering high-efficiency power even within limited spaces. One significant advantage is its substantially lower emissions of pollutants compared to fossil fuels, enabling continuous electricity production for 24/7, irrespective of seasonal or weather conditions.

GDS aims to harness the potential of hydrogen, a next-generation energy source that has garnered significant attention, following its selection as a new data center construction partner by Singapore’s Information and Communications Media Development Authority (IMDA). In addition to introducing SOFCs in cooperation with SK ecoplant, GDS is contemplating the direct use of green hydrogen generated through renewable sources as fuel in the future. The objective is to dominate the Singaporean data center market by leveraging cutting-edge technologies and accumulated know-how including fuel cell applications.

Data centers must maintain an uninterrupted, stable, and efficient power system to facilitate the real-time storage and distribution of vast volumes of information 24 hours a day, year-round. This collaboration between SK ecoplant and GDS aligns with the Singaporean government’s goal of supplying half of the country’s electricity through hydrogen by 2050 in line with carbon neutrality objectives. It is anticipated that this partnership will serve as a cornerstone for the widespread adoption of fuel cell-based power solutions in the Singaporean data center market.

Furthermore, the adoption of fuel cells as data center power solutions is on the rise among global companies such as Amazon Web Services, Microsoft, and Equinix, emphasizing the growing trend of SOFCs in the global market, primarily due to its exceptional power efficiency. Notably, Bloom Energy’s SOFCs are operational in over 700 locations worldwide including more than 100 of the world’s leading global companies such as Apple and Google. With a global market share of 44%, Bloom Energy stands as the world’s top player in stationary fuel cells and has maintained a strategic partnership with SK ecoplant since 2018, collaborating to localize and distribute the world’s most efficient SOFCs.

William Wei Huang, Chairman of GDS said, “GDS aims to transcend being Singapore’s first data center to employ SOFC technology, striving to establish an eco-friendly data center that significantly reduces carbon emissions through the use of green hydrogen.” He further stated, “Our collaboration with SK ecoplant will not only enhance the eco-friendliness of data centers but also bolster GDS’s strategic foothold in Southeast Asia.”

KR Sridhar, the founder and CEO of Bloom Energy, said, “Distributed power sources, exemplified by Bloom Energy’s SOFC, represent an ideal solution for rapid power deployment in locations facing power shortages such as densely populated data center areas.” He added, “We anticipate that this technology will enable us to attain sustainability objectives within the ICT industry, especially since it can operate on green hydrogen. We are committed to supporting SK ecoplant, our partner in this business.”

Kyung-il Park, CEO of SK ecoplant, said, “Leveraging our extensive experience in providing fuel cell-based power solutions, spanning from small to large-scale applications such as data centers and hospitals, we will accelerate our efforts to penetrate diverse commercial markets.” He further remarked, “Through continued collaboration with Bloom Energy and Koran companies, we intend to establish dominance in the global fuel cell market and lead in export opportunities.”

Photo of Bloom Energy’s SOFCs installed by SK ecoplant

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