DCF Show: Data Center Diesel Backup Generators In the News

Aug. 16, 2023
Our latest podcast discussion begins by recounting how and why planned construction of diesel generators for backup power at Aligned Data Centers' contentiously approved Quantum Loophole campus in Maryland recently ran afoul of state regulations.

Premised on DCF's recent article series centered on data center diesel backup generator technology, the latest episode of the Data Center Frontier Show podcast finds site editors Matt Vincent and David Chernicoff recounting how Aligned Data Centers' Quantum Loophole campus was recently called out by the State of Maryland over a permitting snag in a contentiously approved plan for construction of 168 data center diesel generators, amounting to over 500 MW of backup power generation.

Data centers like Aligned's Quantum Loophole campus, which is being raised on the site of a former aluminum smelting plant, seek to do in Maryland what so many others are doing next door in Northern Virginia. Maryland does want the data center business, but isn't having it without certain qualifications to be met in the form of the state's Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN) licensing process.

As recorded by DCD, in wake of the permitting snag, Maryland officials are now wondering aloud about clean energy alternatives, to the point of expressing incredulity that use of carbon-emitting technology is even on the table -- especially given certain outside realities, not least being Aligned's use of microgrid power in its Plano, Texas data center.

Chernicoff and Vincent sidle up to the conclusion that a modular, incremental technology approach allows for a mosaic of available data center backup power generation technologies including diesel to be used, which the overall industry currently requires. Chernicoff also notes how Tier 4 standards for data center diesel power have gotten significantly cleaner after two decades of refinement.

Listen to today's show:

Here’s a timeline of points discussed on the podcast:

  • 1:05 - The Issue with Aligned Data Centers' Quantum Loophole Campus In Maryland
  • 2:00 - Diesel Power and the State of Maryland Are At Loggerheads
  • 4:00 - If Someplace Ever Screamed Out for a Microgrid ...
  • 5:20 - Perceptions of Diesel Power
  • 6:00 - Cleaner Generators and Backup Power Runtime Realities
  • 6:42 - The 3 Big Players in the Data Center Diesel Generators
  • 7:14 - Competitive Advantages of No-Load Maintenance
  • 8:20 - Alternatives to Diesel: Microgrid, Battery Backup, SMR, and Biodiesel Technologies
  • 9:44 - A Catch-22 Situation for Data Centers
  • 10:41 - Bits and Pieces of Technology
  • 10:59 - The Benefit of Building from a Clean Slate
  • 11:29 - Building an Entire Data Center Campus, You Expect To Be There For a Decade or Three
  • 12:00 - Could a Microgrid Ever Furnish On-Demand Gigawatt Power?
  • 12:27 - Enclosures for Diesel Backup Power Generators
  • 13:21 - Quality of Support a Huge Competitive Factor
  • 14:17 - The Scoop on Supply Chain
  • 15:15 - Diesel Generator Sizing Concerns
  • 16:01 - Overprovisioning for Backup Power Is an Issue
  • 17:10 - Where Diesel Power Generation Meets Sustainability
  • 18:08 - A Stepping Stone to Other Backup Power Solutions?

Here are links to some recent DCF articles on backup power for data centers:

Did you like this episode? Be sure to subscribe to the Data Center Frontier show at Podbean to receive future episodes on your app. 

About the Author

Matt Vincent

A B2B technology journalist and editor with more than two decades of experience, Matt Vincent is Editor in Chief of Data Center Frontier.

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