Amazon Web Services test driving Tesla batteries in data centers

AWS engineers describe how Tesla's latest innovation can fill in some energy gaps within data centers.


Tesla turned up the spotlight earlier this week with a portfolio of new power-fueling (and hopefully power-saving) innovations for homes and businesses.

The California car maker often garners attention through the cutting-edge designs and breakthroughs demonstrated predominantly through its lineup of electric vehicles.

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Now premium motor company founded by Elon Musk is infusing that energy into somewhere a little less flashy but all the more needed these days: data centers.

Among those already sampling Tesla's battery innovations is none other than one of the largest data center managers worldwide: Amazon Web Services, recently boasted to be a $5 billion business by company founder and CEO Jeff Bezos.

Describing itself as "not just an automotive company" but rather a "an energy innovation company," Tesla touted how it is utilizing some of the same architectures and components in its electric vehicles and bringing them to energy storage systems.

Namely, Tesla is experimenting with integrating batteries to power electronics, thermal management and controls for wrangling them together for a turn key system.

"Tesla's energy storage allows businesses to capture the full potential of their facility's solar arrays by storing excess generation for later use and delivering solar power at all times," the Palo Alto, Calif.-headquartered business asserted. "Business Storage anticipates and discharges stored power during a facility's times of highest usage, reducing the demand charge component of the energy energy bills."

James Hamilton, a distinguished engineer at AWS, revealed that Tesla has already been testing running applications on Tesla's high-capacity battery technology over the last year.

The hope, Hamilton explained, is that such energy efficient measures could encourage "widespread adoption of renewables in the grid."

"Batteries are important for both data center reliability and as enablers for the efficient application of renewable power," Hamilton wrote in prepared remarks. "They help bridge the gap between intermittent production, from sources like wind, and the data center's constant power demands."

AWS plans to roll out a 4.8-megawatt hour pilot of Tesla's energy storage batteries, starting with its US West (Northern California) Region. AWS has four regions stateside (including one dedicated to government applications) with half a dozen more scattered around the globe.

Hamilton promised that the soft launch fits in with Amazon's long-term strategy to eventually achieve a 100 percent renewable energy tech deployment rate across its global infrastructure.

Images via Tesla