The operation of Google's data centers is to become climate-neutral. This is apparently also possible with batteries, which are also intended to support the power grid. The IT company Google has apparently successfully completed its first long-term test on the use of network storage as a complete emergency power supply in a data center in Belgium and has now transferred this to regular operation. The company reports this in its cloud blog and hopes to be able to use the technology worldwide with the experience it has gained.
When operating data centers, several stages of an emergency power supply are usually used, which are used if the main power from the grid is no longer available. Batteries and accumulators have also been used to date, but mostly only as a comparatively short solution to bridge the gap until a longer-term power source is available. In the vast majority of cases, the latter has so far been diesel generators, which can also supply the data centers for several hours. If there are problems here, this can have a very large impact, as a failure of the power supply at DE-CIX a few years ago showed.
Google also used diesel generators as standard. Referring to the battery test, it says: "Now we're working to show that a better, cleaner solution can help keep the internet going in the event of a power outage. Even better if the batteries aren't being used for backup power.", we can use them to help local grid operators balance the grid."
A few details about battery technology
Google does not give any technical details about the batteries used or the entire power supply system. However, according to an estimate published at the beginning of the tests, Google assumes that diesel generators for data centers with a combined output of 20 gigawatts will be available worldwide. Given the huge number of data centers, this is a comparatively small value compared to the performance that large grid storage systems such as those from Tesla can deliver. The latter are regularly around 100 or even 300 megawatts with storage capacities of up to 450 megawatt-hours.
However, the peak performance of the batteries is not necessarily important for the emergency power supply of the data centers, but rather their storage capacities and thus the duration of the available power supply until other sources can be used. Among other things, Google relies on solar and wind power, some of which are directly available for the data center and can be used.