Nxtra by Airtel Partners with Bloom Energy to Deploy Fuel Cell Technology

The data center will operate on non-combusted natural gas and then switch to 50% hydrogen in the future

September 13, 2022


Telecom company Bharti Airtel’s subsidiary Nxtra Data has partnered with solid-oxide fuel cells manufacturer Bloom Energy to deploy a low-environmental impact fuel cell installation at its data center in Karnataka.

In a BSE statement, Bharti said Nxtra Data would be the first Indian data center to deploy fuel cell technology to mitigate carbon emissions through a cleaner, hydrogen-ready fuel supply.

Nxtra Data plans to commence the operations in the unit on non-combusted natural gas and then switch to 50% hydrogen without any significant investment.

The fuel cells powered with natural gas will be used for the primary generation, with utility electrical grids and generators as backup sources.

COO of Nxtra Data Rajesh Tapadia said, “Nxtra is committed to set new benchmarks in sustainability for the data center industry and play a leading role as India emerges as the leading data center destination in APAC. With an ambition to reach net zero by 2031, we have embarked on our sustainability journey by making all possible efforts to adopt innovative energy solutions. Our partnership with Bloom Energy is a testament to our future-ready energy strategy to supply much cleaner energy to our data centers.”

Senior Managing Director, International Business Development, Bloom Energy, Tim Schweikert, said, “Our technology is distinctly capable of helping India meet its decarbonization objectives as it transitions to a hydrogen economy. We are proud to collaborate with Nxtra to support them in their pursuit of using clean, reliable, and affordable power for their data centers.”

Nxtra Data has 12 large and 120 edge data centers across India and will invest over ₹50 billion (~$629 million) to expand its capacity threefold to over 400 MW in the next four years. The company has already partnered with eight organizations to develop renewable energy power plants across the country to source over 180,000 MWh of clean energy,

Airtel, through Nxtra, is committed to achieving 50% of its power requirements through renewable energy sources in a year.

In March, Bharti Airtel and Nxtra Data acquired a 7.03% and 11.33% equity stake in Avaada KNShorapur, a special purpose vehicle operating a 10 MW open access solar project in Karnataka.

Bloom Energy, Atelier Global, GAIL Limited, and Indian Oil Corporation announced a first-of-its-kind commercial real estate development in Bengaluru using clean power generated on-site using natural gas.