Hydrogen: The Future Green Alternative?


Is hydrogen the future green alternative for the data center industry? Find out Raymond Hawkins and Steven Hill’s insights on the topic!

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The increasing power consumption of data centers and the subsequent challenges of powering and cooling them have emerged as significant concerns for industry professionals. The quest for sustainability in the field is increasingly urgent, given that data centers are estimated to consume about 50 times more power than traditional offices, and the reliance on fossil fuels and hydrocarbons is unsustainable in the long term.

On this episode of Not Your Father’s Data Center, host Raymond Hawkins welcomes Steven Hill, an independent data center analyst and writer, for an insightful discussion on this pressing issue. They delved into Hill’s unique journey, from a professional photographer photographing ore carriers, cranes, and Packers games, to a leading voice in the data center industry. They also explored hydrogen as a potential solution to these challenges, despite its high reactivity, flammability, and low energy volume.

Their discussion further unfolded into…

  • Hill’s transition from professional photography to data center analysis
  • The burgeoning focus on data center sustainability
  • The role of hydrogen as a potential fuel source in the data center industry
  • The challenges posed by increasing demand for computing power and growing data center density
  • Different types of hydrogen and their potential uses in the industry
  • The increasing adoption of multicore processors and virtualization in data centers
  • The criticism faced by the data center industry for high power consumption and the increasing demand for sustainable electricity

Steven Hill is an independent data center analyst and writer. He has charted an unconventional career path, transitioning from professional photography to the data center industry, where he now applies his analytical skills to examine and write about the industry’s pressing issues.

Read the full episode transcript below:

Raymond Hawkins: Welcome to another addition of Not Your Father’s Data Centre. I am your host, Raymond Hawkins, Chief Revenue Officer here at Compass in Dallas, Texas. Today, Steven Hill joins us from the great state of Wisconsin. He is an independent analyst with our friends at ToneCurve. Steven, how are you today?

Steven Hill: I’m great. Yourself?

Raymond Hawkins: I’m doing awesome. Thank you for joining us and having a talk about data centre and hydrogen and all things technology. If you’re willing, I’m going to drive us a little bit off the data centre ranch and talk football with you for a few minutes, but before we get into football, because it’s hard not to talk to a guy who lives in Green Bay about the Packers, tell us a little bit about where you grew up, where you went to school, and how you got interested in tech.

Steven Hill: Actually, I went to high school, the little city called Algoma, Wisconsin, which is, you go drive north to Green Bay, you make a right and go all the way to Lake Michigan, and that’s where Algoma is.

Raymond Hawkins: Wow, right on the lake.

Steven Hill: Right on the lake. So I grew up listening to the foghorn on many nights, and ultimately, that led to a career in professional photography, which evolved into a career of digital imaging technology in the nineties. So I had like a 30-year experience in professional photography, yet digitalization changed everything in photography. So I was involved in a lot of projects to completely change workflows, to choose hardware and software for production environment. The studio that I was running at the end created about 16,000 commercial photographs a year, and all of those went straight to print. It was a retail store. We did about between eight and 12 million press run every week. And we did about 60 circulars a year. So it was great.

And that kind of led me into, once I got tired of the fun of retail, I decided to move into writing because I had covered so much technology over the years. I was a hobbyist. I ran BBSs in the eighties. I built systems probably for a 30-year period because I loved having control over that. But anyway, so that led to writing and then led to being an analyst with a couple of different firms covering storage servers, data centre technology, heating, cooling, data management, data governance and archiving. It was all over the place. So it’s been a blast being a generalist in a business that really calls for it.

Raymond Hawkins: So been in Wisconsin your whole life, you haven’t gotten too far from the lake, have you?

Steven Hill: No, no, in fact, the weird thing was I was born further down the lake in Chicago and that slowly but surely my dad moved us up north and the last thing I said, I went to my high school in that little city of Algoma. It’s a great little town, still is.

Raymond Hawkins: So I’ve had the good fortune of staying on the lake, and if I understand it right, folks, back before we had air conditioning, they put their houses right up close to the lake so that the cool breeze would blow off the lake in the summer. The land would heat up, the crust of the Earth would heat up, that would suck the air in off the lake and cool air would blow through your house to cool the home in the summer, right?

Steven Hill: Right on. It was amazing. Literally, when you drive into town from Green Bay, say for example, you could have your hand out the window and you could feel the temperature drop maybe eight to 10 degrees as you get closer to the city. So yeah, living less than a half mile off the lake, it was always really pretty comfortable. And I prefer being cool. You can only take off so many clothes and not get arrested.

Raymond Hawkins: I’ll tell you, changing the temperature, that big body of water is hard to do, so that’s why it stays always cool. I tell people, so the reason it’s cool is because all that water’s hard to heat up.

Steven Hill: Exactly.

Raymond Hawkins: All right, so you’d already dropped one acronym that I’m sure we’re going to lose people on, BBS. So for our listeners that tech is a 10-year obsession, unlike a 40-year obsession for you and me, folks, that’s a bulletin board service. This was how we messaged each other before we had-

Steven Hill: Before the internet.

Raymond Hawkins: … before we had the internet. That’s how we would electronically-

Steven Hill: Exactly. Right.

Raymond Hawkins: I don’t think you mentioned it, but I know earlier you mentioned to me, 1,200 baud modems, I mean, but the days of literally waiting for the phone to dial the line and get us a connection, those were the days, so.

Steven Hill: If you wanted to download one megabyte, it would take pretty much the rest of the night. As long as somebody didn’t pick up another phone.

Raymond Hawkins: I was just going to say, it drop your connection. You would just start it and go to bed, and then you would get up in the morning and your download would be done. Yeah.

Steven Hill: If you were lucky.

Raymond Hawkins: Right. Right. Those were the days. Well, you mentioned a little bit of being, you’ve done lots of technology and just for some perspective, I’d like folks to hear a little bit about your history. Let’s just take storage for a minute. Well, let’s go back to, so my kids don’t believe this, I tell my kids, I was like, « Do you know, when I started working in technology, we used to have these slogans that said, ‘someday there’ll be a computer on every desk.' » And my kids are like, « What do you mean dad? » And I’m like, « Well, not everybody had computers. Most businesses did everything on paper. » Then my kids can’t comprehend that things weren’t done… Now there’s more computer in my iPhone than launched a rocket back in the sixties.

And what I think when we got the first personal computers in the early eighties, the first really commercially viable one, I guess, would be ’84, with the Mac Lisa, remember, we’re barely getting rolling in the 80s and you and I, were joking earlier about storage. Tell us about some early storage days. What was it? How big was it? How fast was it? And compared, I think my phone I’m holding here has… Let me look, I want to see. I think a couple. I’m going to look, but you start down the path. I want to see how many.

Steven Hill: My phone, I have 250 gig in it.

Raymond Hawkins: I was going to say, I think this is a 250 gig phone, but I’m going to check real quick.

Steven Hill: Right. And-

Raymond Hawkins: Yeah. 256 gigabytes.

Steven Hill: Exactly. And I look back and I remember somewhere I have an eight and a half inch floppy disc drive. It’s big. And it held 800 octets. That was what was labelled, 800 octets.

Raymond Hawkins: Oh, wow. Octets.

Steven Hill: That’s told you how old I was, right?

Raymond Hawkins: Yeah.

Steven Hill: But we went through, and like I say, my early days, I left the Commodore 64. That’s where we were running the BBS on, and literally, I had probably seven or eight floppy drives, daisy chained with about a megabyte of control each and-

Raymond Hawkins: On megabyte?

Steven Hill: A megabyte per, and then I got really advanced in like 1989. I bought a device called the Lieutenant Colonel. It was the only hard drive for a Commodore 64, and it was a 10 megabyte, which meant you had to set it up in ten one megabyte partitions so that you could pretend that you actually had 10 floppy drives connected to the computer. It was great. It was [inaudible 00:07:16] piece of technology, and it got rid of, I mean, some of these drives where you could warm your dinner on the top of them, they were so hot.

Raymond Hawkins: So your Commodore 64, I want to say I had one wired to a television. Did you actually have a monitor or did you-

Steven Hill: Oh, yeah. No, absolutely.

Raymond Hawkins: Yeah, you did. Okay.

Steven Hill: The weird thing is that Commodore, it was a semi hobbyist computer, but they had a pretty full collection of different floppy drives, different input devices, full 80 line monitor, a full colour monitor. That was one thing about the Commodore systems, whether it was the C64 Amiga, they were into colour way before anybody else does. And they were doing things that even the Macintosh couldn’t do at a time. So that’s where I first got my taste of digital imaging, and that just carried on from there.

Raymond Hawkins: So Steven, with your experience in the storage business and us joking about early days, things measured in megabytes and kilobytes, I get asked this a bunch. People will ask me, analysts will ask, « Hey, don’t you think that as the data centre technology continues to shrink that we’re going to need fewer data centres, we’re going to need less data centre space? » And I always ask them, I said, « Hey, can you talk me through the three biggest technology changes that allowed for the miniaturisation of a data centre? » And to me, one of them is going from spinning platters to flash drives. To me, that was the biggest, right? Because even in a three and a half inch drive world, it took racks and racks and racks and tonnes and tonnes and tonnes of weight, all kinds of electricity. You made the joke earlier about being able to cook your TV dinner on a hard drive. The move from spinning platters to flash, to me, was the biggest change in the data centre. That made a heat change, a power usage change, a square footage needed change. That was huge.

Steven Hill: And if you look back at, you always hear the term technology that really revolutionises something, if I look back on it, because again, having been in the data centre, following it for the last two decades, it was virtualization and multicore systems. Because-

Raymond Hawkins: Well, you stole my thunder, Steve, those were the next two. But yes.

Steven Hill: [inaudible 00:09:33] you think about it because back when I was writing for an network computing magazine, I did a bunch of tours, what were called the Data Centre Expert Tour. Now, I’m no expert at anything. I just love lots of technology. But I was, at that point, speaking about Intel’s plans and AMD’s plans to build multicore processors. And at that point, Intel had created a 64 core test chip, it was like a massive math core processor. That’s how they came up with all the routing and all the messaging between all of the cores. But AMD really beat them to it by putting out a dual-core system probably two years before Intel really got it together. And then my point was that I was speaking on data centres, I said, you’ll see systems that have 8, 16 32 cords on a single socket.

And the only way to take advantage of all of that computing power is to do virtualization. Because prior to that, it was one application and one server, end of story. And all of a sudden you could be hosting dozens of applications on a single or a dual socket server. But again, this is what happens, and I agree with you. People say, though, « Isn’t this going to just diminish to nothing? » Well, no, because demand continues to build back out as you go along. So ultimately, I see data centres getting tighter, but they’re getting more dense. And then you start adding things like AI and other highly computational technologies, and all of a sudden, you’re right back to where you were originally. You’re really pushing the technology to the limit. And along with all that high performance action and the AI capabilities, you’re generating a lot more heat and you’re using up a lot more space.

Raymond Hawkins: Well, you nailed it there, Steven. So well, I love that you played perfect straight man, right? Well, we started to be able to put multiple cores in the same socket that demanded, I like it in the old days where you used to talk about a killer app. Well, we didn’t have a killer app that could burn up all that compute. So now we had to bring virtualization over from the mainframe and say, hey, let’s use more of this chip, but we’re going to slice it up and that we’re going to take, what I remember in the old days, average utilisation was about 17%. And now that we have virtualization, we run in the mid ’80s, most every core does. And so multicore chips of virtualization really helped each other play together, which allowed us to go to one Uboxes and blade servers and get the servers smaller and smaller and smaller, and cram all that technology onto a single core, a single chip socket.

And then we still had these huge disc arrays that supported all that. When we got to make the switch from platters to flash drives, we miniaturised all that. And so I look at how the data centre has changed and those three huge leaps forward. Not that there couldn’t be something else, but I don’t know what we do to get them much smaller than those. And then back to your point, we’re now going the other direction with these Nvidia chips and these chips that are doing special functions at an extremely high rate, running extremely high. I mean, the reason we need to immerse servers is because they’re so specialised in running so fast and getting so hot, we got to figure out a better way to cool.

Steven Hill: Oh, dear God. And you start looking at things like the DGX series from Nvidia, that they’re doing AI, they’re doing analytics on, these things are just monsters. I mean, literally, they’re a super computer in an eight rack unit size, and it’s amazing that they’ve done incredible things with it. Software’s available. You can literally have a super computer. You can even get them in a tower version that you can stick onto your desk. But they also have these, and they keep thinking of it in terms of multiple racks of these things, just racked up, and then connecting all of the storage via high speed interconnect so that you can actually keep feeding these things because some of these analytics processes, the AI process, just tear through the data.

Raymond Hawkins: Yeah, I remember we used to joke, we can’t change the laws of physics. We can’t make the electrons go any faster. And that was always our constraint. What could we push through that copper? What could we push through that process? Or what could we push through that socket to that busway? And now, we’re pushing the compute so far. Now, we’re running up against the laws of thermodynamics. What can we cool? How much heat rejection can we put in a space? How can we cool it? Because we’re regenerating so much heat in such a small area. Because I get asked that one a bunch too, « Raymond, how dense can you get these racks? » Well, it’s not how much compute can I put in there, it’s how much heat can I reject.

Steven Hill: Right, exactly. And that’s a case, I’ve seen towards some data centres that they could handle up to a hundred kilowatts, or… Excuse me, forgive me, I’m suddenly having a mental block here. A hundred kilowatts per rack, which I guess-

Raymond Hawkins: That’s a lot.

Steven Hill: And that’s the thing about data centres. I mean, literally what they do is they use power and turn it into heat because the work comes out as basically just data, which doesn’t have any math, doesn’t it? So the only work that they do is turning electricity. We tricked racks into doing math. So it’s jamming about electricity into those racks and then coming up with answers and all the rest of that gets blasted out as heat. So you’re right. And this is where you start seeing challenges from the old traditional, the old raised floor types where you had a mainframe and you could put a couple of tiles with holes in them in front of the racks and you’d be fine. Well, now, that’s not always the case, especially if you start talking about 50 to 100 kilowatts in a rack. That is a lot of power. Just think of that in terms of 50 to 100 hair dryers blowing at the same time. There’s your energy use.

Raymond Hawkins: Yeah, that’s exactly right. And we got to reject all that heat. All that heat’s got to get rejected somehow.

Steven Hill: That’s right, exactly. Because again, what you put into it, you also have to take out of it, right? So for every kilowatt you put in, you got to be able to absorb that or a little bit more. And looking at data centres, data centres have always been hogs for power. And from what I remember reading about, it’s about 50 times more power than a traditional office per square foot. And then you start adding the water use. That’s the next article that’s going to be publishing relatively soon, is on water usage. Because now, I’m really focusing a little bit more in my studies on the challenges of powering and cooling all of this power that we’re using because we’re addicted to it now.

I mean, everybody’s pushing AI, everybody’s pushing all of these analytics and it’s great, but you still have to be able to provide them with power and cooling. And that’s a difficulty. And again, this is where we start looking at alternatives for the way that we get power. Because most of the power we get right now, comes from fossil fuels, from hydrocarbon sources, and that’s not sustainable. And I think that’s a new keyword that everybody’s looking at for the data centre, sustainability. How could we ensure that we could continue to do this and that we don’t wreck the planet in the process?

Raymond Hawkins: So Steven, you nailed it with that one coming as well, right? We get asked a lot. « Hey, you guys use a lot of power. » Not Compass, but Compass representing the data centre industry. And I always ask people, I said, « Hey, you’re right. But let me ask you, what would you like to take off your phone? You want to stop using Instagram? Would you like to stop using TikTok? Would you like to stop buying your plane tickets online? Would you like to stop having Amazon bring stuff to you? » Because it’s all these digital apps that enable this thing to be smart, that ultimately drive that utilisation in our data centres.

That’s what’s pushing it and getting people to get that, hey, what you do on your phone ultimately ends up as heat in a data centre. That’s ultimately where it takes place. And not only heat, but to your point, the sustainable electricity that gets us there. And I’m going to give one, I’m not going to name the state, but one of the states we develop in, just to give some numbers, in their first 50 years of doing generation, they had about 7,000 megawatts for generation, and they’ve had requests for 7,000 megawatts over the next five years just from the data centre industry.

Steven Hill: Just for the data centre industry. And along with that, and I don’t want to harp on it, but along with that is water. I mean, some of the most difficult freshwater use is coming from either power generation or the cooling process in the data centre itself. And you think to yourself, well, do data centres drink water? Yeah, but it’s really, water is the easiest way to cool technology, especially highly compressed and dense technology. So ultimately where electricity goes, water goes as well.

And the problem with electricity is that, like I said, most of our electricity generated using hydrocarbons, fuels, but ultimately, this is where we built, and I’ve been looking at it, wrote a piece on hydrogen and why isn’t hydrogen being used more. And to me it’s fascinating because really, when I look at a data centre, I look at what problem are we trying to solve. Now, is it difficulty at getting power, not so much. Is it a difficulty of eliminating or decarbonizing the generation of that power? That’s what we’re trying to accomplish. So if that is a key goal, you have to look at all the reasons and all of the sources of greenhouse gases that come from an energy production environment. And at this point, carbon is the worst.

Raymond Hawkins: Right. So we’ve got net gas as an option. We’ve certainly got hydrogen option. Talk to us a little bit about how would we power a data centre with hydrogen? As you’ve studied it, looked into it, talk us through that a little bit because today not happening at scale anywhere, so I’d love to hear what your thoughts are.

Steven Hill: Well, and this again, because we’re in a relatively early stage of this, that the government and around the world, they’re paying a lot more attention to hydrogen purely because of the lack of greenhouse gases. Now, not every application of hydrogen is free from greenhouse gases. So the way that hydrogen would affect the data centre would be as a power source. And we already seen a relatively large, a 500 megawatt turbine based power unit going into… I can’t remember the state now, I’ve got it written somewhere. There’s also the potential of using hydrogen eventually for standby generators because it wasn’t available at first, but now, there’s a potential of utilising diesel engines using hydrogen instead of fuel.

Raymond Hawkins: I got you. Instead of running diesel fuel through it, yeah.

Steven Hill: Right, exactly. So there’s some direct results there. There’s also the ability to build what are called microgrids. Because again, the thing you have to look about our energy supply is that it’s been attacked a couple of times in this last year and so is your standby generator enough to last a couple of weeks if there’s a major outage? Because literally, these people have realised that they can take a gun and use a couple of dollars worth of bullets to damage or completely destroy a half a million to a million dollars worth of electric infrastructure. So ultimately, it falls on the data centre operator to be able to have sufficient backup capabilities to be able to manage an extended outage. And that’s where, again, the diesel generators do incredibly well, but then they probably the worst for generating greenhouse gases. And that’s again, what the goal is actually, is reducing that greenhouse gas.

Raymond Hawkins: Steven, in your studies on this hydrogen option, did you look into our friends at Bloom Energy any?

Steven Hill: No, I’m not familiar with that. Run that by me yet.

Raymond Hawkins: Bloom Energy, B-L-O-O-M. I think their microgrid is hydrogen powered.

Steven Hill: It could be. There’s only a couple of facilities that are hydrogen powered right now. I think that there’s one, they’re actually converting a coal plant in Nebraska to convert a 125 megawatt coal plant to hydrogen fuel. And like I said, there’s also the Long Ridge energy, I’m trying to think, I can’t remember where that’s, but they’re producing 485 megawatts using one giant gas turbine from GE and-

Raymond Hawkins: Oh, wow. Powered by hydrogen.

Steven Hill: Yeah. Well, at this point they’re only fractionally part, but what they’re doing is building this up because the problem with hydrogen, and I have to talk a little bit about hydrogen, so you’ll have to forgive me.

Raymond Hawkins: Yeah, yeah, let’s do it.

Steven Hill: They’re are scientists or engineers out there, forgive me if I’m wrong, I’m just a computer nerd. But ultimately, again, I’ve been fascinated with hydrogen and its capabilities since I grew up in the space programme and seeing a Saturn V launching with ice flaking off of it and the massive power that it created, it was like, why isn’t this being used for more? But hydrogen is, I would say, the energy environment’s problem child because there’s a lot of pros and there’s a lot of cons. So ultimately, the problem with hydrogen is that, well, I mean, face it, the weird thing is hydrogen is 75% of the universe. I did a pie chart, and it just showed three quarters of the pie chart was hydrogen, about one quarter was helium, and then this little tiny 2% wedge was everything else. It was crazy because again, you don’t think about it, but again, we only associate with what’s on Earth.

 Well, the problem with hydrogen on Earth is that it’s only six part per million in the atmosphere. So it’s not easy to get out of the air itself. Ultimately the sun, face it, the sun is our wonderful hydrogen generator. 600 million tonnes of hydrogen, it burns per second, turns it into helium. It’s all part of the fusion process, which why fusion would be incredible when it gets down to it. But ultimately, the ability to use hydrogen as a replacement for other fuels that produce carbon, and again, if you look at what greenhouse gases are, the majority of carbon dioxide or carbon monoxide, oxides of nitrogen, NOx as you hear of this when you’re using internal combustion engines and hydrocarbons that are based for all different like propellant and stuff like that. So the thing with hydrogen is that it’s a challenge getting it because you can’t draw it out of the atmosphere where you can only get it from other things that have hydrogen in it.

Now, hydrogen is great. It’s the smallest molecule. It’s the lightest atom. It is a part of so many things on Earth because it’s so happy to bond with everything. So when you think of hydrocarbons, oil and gas, hydrocarbon, hydrogen is a huge part of it. The carbon is the bad part, and that always ends up getting blasted into the air whenever you burn hydrocarbons. Now, hydrogen by itself creates no hydrocarbon or no carbon in the atmosphere at all. And the only additions to it are when you try and run hydrogen through an internal combustion engine. Because when you burn hydrogen with regular air, you end up mixing in oxygen, and that’s where the NOx comes out of. But if you are running just pure hydrogen, the only output is, in the case of a fuel cell, electricity and water, which is, you can’t be more efficient than that.

The problem is getting all the technology up to a point that you can actually utilise that hydrogen in an efficient way. And then there’s also different types of hydrogen because it’s not just one type. And there’s eight colours. Green comes from water, that is electrolysis from anything that is renewable energy. So solar, wind power, any kind of power that you break down water into hydrogen and oxygen, that’s green hydrogen. Blue hydrogen comes from fossil fuels. But with carbon capture, that’s something that they can do is separate out the carbon and they sequester it, which means that they could pump it underground or they can turn it into solid carbon that’s coming up. Grey hydrogen is fossil fuels without carbon capture. Black and brown hydrogen is by two initial lignite coal. Turquoise is thermal splitting of methane plus pyrolysis, and you could turn that into solid carbon.

And then pink is electrolysis from a nuke plant, the electricity from a nuke plant. Red hydrogen is nuke plant catalytic splitting, which is a new way of being able to split water into hydrogen and oxygen using extremely high heat within the existing nuclear plants facility. And then the last, and this is more interesting, is white hydrogen, which is naturally occurring hydrogen. They just started to find pockets of this, and this is one of my favourite hydrogen stories is that in 2012, they found a hydrogen pocket in Mali when they were drilling for a water well. They went down 300 metres, didn’t find any water, but they pulled their drill out and they found there’s something blowing out of the hole. And so one of the drillers went and looked down the hole with a lit cigarette and it went off in his face and it burned for weeks.

It didn’t kill him, but ultimately it burned for weeks. And then to this day, they’re using it to generate energy for that city in Mali in Western Africa. So there is a potential to get naturally occurring hydrogen. But the problem with any type of fuel source is that you have to calculate all the carbon that went into it. So if you’re drilling it or if you’re extracting it, you have to look at all the different factors involved. And the best way is green hydrogen from pure electrolysis of water. But again, that requires electricity. And at this point, it only recovers about 60% of the energy that was used to separate it. But it’s an energy carrier. Hydrogen is not a fuel as such. It’s more like battery power. You can use hydrogen to power things, but you have to manufacture it to be able to use it because it’s not atmospheric and you have to break it apart out of something else to be able to get use out of it.

Raymond Hawkins: Steve, I had no idea there were eight different colours. I like the way you characterised them of the different kinds of hydrogen and how we get to them. That’s fascinating stuff. Had no idea.

Steven Hill: Yeah. And I mean, ultimately the beauty of hydrogen, as you can use it for so many things, gas turbines, diesel engines, now fuel cell battery combos that you’re going to find in a lot of vehicles. Even just recently, they tried powering a plane with hydrogen. In fact, there’s talk about actually using hydrogen and standard jet engines. The problem with it is that hydrogen, it’s incredibly light and it’s highly reactive. It’s probably 10 times more flammable than say, diesel fuel. And then it’s the prominence, it’s low energy by volume. So if it’s at standard pressure, at standard temperature, it’s a very light gas, but it’s really high energy by weight. So if you burn a kilo of hydrogen and a kilo of gasoline, hydrogen would definitely win. Problem is that because it’s a gas and it’s a fairly light gas, you need to either compress it a lot. The average compression for commercial hydrogen is 10,000 PSI, which is no small number.

Or you can store it as a liquid. And it’s an awesome liquid because I think it compresses down to like 845 to one. So you could put a lot of hydrogen in liquid form, and it will expand 800 and whatever percent or 800 whatever times. So again, that’s a problem. Here’s a good comparison because I was looking at a space programme. One gallon of liquid hydrogen weighs one half pound. One gallon of liquid oxygen weighs 9.51 pounds. So that shows you, and again, it just doesn’t compute because if you have two gallon jugs and one is a 10th of the weight of the other, it just doesn’t calculate in your brain. But again, that’s a problem with hydrogen. It’s a problem child because it’s difficult to get, it requires energy to produce energy, but the big payoff is zero carbon or minimal carbon and minimal other things too, depending on how it’s used.

Raymond Hawkins: Well, Steven, we really appreciate you giving us the hydrogen lesson. That’s been really valuable. I would be remiss for a lifetime Wisconsinite to not give two minutes of this podcast to talk about your Green Bay Packers. You got to give us your favourite lifetime love of the Packers. Give us your favourite Packer story.

Steven Hill: Oh my God. Well, it was weird because when I started my career, as I said in professional photography, and that little city Algoma had a photographic studio that did everything. So I had the opportunity to photograph the launch of Thousand Foot or Carriers and Massive Cranes. And part of it was that they were the official photographer at the time for the Green Bay Packers, which meant we did all the team photographs and then we showed up at every game. And so I got to shoot probably several dozens Packer games from the field. And it’s a different world down there. When you’re working, it’s not the same.

But when I learned to love the Packers was when I got back for, I headed out, Easton came back and I got some free tickets because it was easy to get Packer tickets in the ’80s. And to just sit in the stands in the warm and have a dollar beer and a dollar hotdog, it was just great. It was like, so this is why people like it, because when you’re on your knees on the field, it’s snow or sleet or whatever. You don’t really enjoy the game. You’re busy. But actually sitting at a game, that was amazing. And again, going through the Packers, we’ve had some pretty good luck with major quarterbacks like Brett Favre, and it’s-

Raymond Hawkins: You got to bring Aaron, right? Aaron.

Steven Hill: Oh, yeah. Well, I’ve got-

Raymond Hawkins: [inaudible 00:33:48].

Steven Hill: And again, it’s one of those things where you go through cycles, you keep hoping. It’s an interesting year this year, put it that way. It was interesting last year. It’s really interesting this year because all the talk, and the irony of it is that when Brett Favre left Green Bay, he went to the Jets and that’s where Aaron-

Raymond Hawkins: That’s where Aaron’s ended up.

Steven Hill: Yeah. Yeah. And I was speaking in New York the day after that was announced, and I got up on stage and I said, I’m wearing black today because I’m from Green Bay. And everybody knew what I was talking about that they had just stolen Brett Favre away from the Green Bay Packers. So yeah, the weird thing about Green Bay is that it is the smallest market in the NFL. It’s a publicly owned team. Literally, if the Packers were to be sold, the proceeds would go to, I believe, an American Legion Post, yeah, but ultimately, there’s literally a million stockholders out there right now, and it’s not vulnerable stock, but it’s a community team that will stay a community team.

Raymond Hawkins: Love that about the Packers, love that they’re owned by the public and the smallest market fighting it out with the big boys. I know you love those guys just down the road in Chicago.

Steven Hill: Absolutely.

Raymond Hawkins: Steven, we appreciate you chatting with us. We appreciate you sharing a little bit about Wisconsin and your beloved Packers and your history and watching our world digitise from front seat, digitising photography, all the way through what we talk about in the compute space and data centres and hydrogen. Thank you for joining us. It’s been awesome. We look forward to talking again soon. We appreciate you having us, you joining us on Not Your Father’s Data Centre. Thank you so much.

Steven Hill: Take care. Thank you very much.