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Introducing Our Salt Lake City Data Center: Advancing Our Commitment to Cleaner, Greener Commerce

What do fuel cells, eBay Inc., and the Silicon Slopes of Utah have in common? They’re all a part of today’s exciting launch of our new state-of-the-art, environmentally minded facility! Later this morning, we’re unveiling our newest data center, located in Salt Lake City, Utah and adjacent to our existing LEED® Gold-certified data center that opened in 2010. The new facility is home to leading edge technology and we’ll be announcing our next big, cleaner energy project. Through these investments, we’re fundamentally rethinking the way data centers are designed, operated and powered – and we’re continuing to gain momentum in our efforts to enable a greener commerce future.

Our newest data center is the first in the world to use Bloom Energy Servers as the primary, on-site power source, instead of the traditional electric utility grid. This not only makes the commerce activity powered by this facility cleaner, but according to a new white paper released today by the University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign, it’s also expected to increase the availability and reliability of our infrastructure. In other words, the Bloom fuel cells are expected to not only increase our efficiency and lessen our environmental impact (approximately 49 percent less CO2 emissions than our first-phase data center), but also boost the performance of our commerce platforms by reducing the risk of outages. In this way, we’re seeing proof that environmental considerations go hand-in-hand with good business strategy.

In addition, our new facility is now home to best-in-class, next-generation technology innovations that take efficiency to the next level, improve performance and reduce environmental impact. Through our partnership with Dell, today we’re deploying the world’s densest modular data center (called EPIC)[1]; and, at 1.4MW, we’re also deploying the world’s largest modular data center (the HP EcoPOD)[2] through our work with HP. These are just the latest in our long-standing collaborative relationships with both companies, and together they’ll help us enable more commerce globally. And while both companies collaborated with us to design modular data center solutions for our unique business needs, these innovations don’t just benefit us – any company can now deploy them and potentially realize similar gains in their operations. In this way, we hope to help propel the entire industry forward.

But we aren’t stopping there. To underscore our continuing commitment to greener commerce, today we’re announcing an investment with Ormat — an alternative and renewable energy technology company — to develop an off-site waste heat recovery solution that will provide cleaner energy to our data centers and the rest of our facilities in Utah. Once construction is complete, approximately 18 months from now, we’ll be able to capture and convert enough heat from the natural gas pipeline (the same one feeding into our Bloom fuel cells) to provide up to 5 MW of electricity supply. With this investment, we anticipate that we’ll be able to reach, and possibly surpass, our goal of sourcing at least 8 percent of eBay Inc.’s energy from cleaner sources by 2015.

Our collaboration with Ormat was made possible through our work with Utah State Senator Mark Madsen and other stakeholders to pass SB12 last year. The legislation enables energy users in Utah, for the first time, to buy and transmit power directly from cleaner energy developers. After its passage we began a structured procurement process. Out of 32 project proposals from 20 firms, Ormat was selected as the winner. We’re excited to be working together on this project, and hope it serves as a model for how companies and policymakers can work together to achieve meaningful impact.

To celebrate all of this, we’re hosting an opening event at the data center today, which will include a ribbon cutting ceremony, site tours and panel discussions (which will be webcast live), as well as feature representatives from academia, state government and our technology partner companies. Our official content partner is Business Forward, and to watch the conversations and learn more about all this news, please visit tech.ebay.com at 10:30 a.m. Mountain Time.

Stay tuned here for a recap of today’s exciting events!

(Image: eBay Inc.)


[1] According to Dell, eBay Inc. is deploying the world’s densest modular data center (called EPIC), which has 24 rack positions and 1Megawatt of power, the Dell EPIC is the densest modular data center in the world

[2] According to HP, eBay Inc. is deploying the world’s largest modular data center, with 44 rack positions and 1.4Megawatts of power, the HP EcoPOD is the largest modular data center in the world

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By Dean Nelson and Lori Duvall

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