Online commerce and payments company, eBay, is opening the second phase of its massive data center in South Jordan Thursday, a building that executives are calling one of the greenest and cleanest of its kind in the world.
“It’s a first inside of Utah and setting an example for the rest of the country and the world,” said Dean Nelson, vice president of foundation services for eBay Inc.
The company is holding a ribbon-cutting event Thursday and giving tours of the new facility.
The data center is “the heart” of eBay’s online operations, he said, and contains computer servers that process customers’ online transactions, not only for eBay’s marketplace but also for its other online companies including PayPal and StubHub, an event ticketing service.
“It’s the engine behind eBay that allows all of the transactions you’re doing as a user to be completed,” Nelson said.
The South Jordan data center is one of three such centers that eBay uses for its entire global operations and is the biggest. The others are in Phoenix and Las Vegas.
The new building, which is connected to an existing building known as “phase one,” will generate most of its own electricity to power the entire data center.
The new addition uses Bloom Energy Servers, special fuel cells that operate from natural gas. With these special cells and other energy-efficient hardware from HP and Dell, three-quarters of the 8 megawatts of electricity needed to run the data center will be self-generated by eBay instead of from the local power utility, Nelson said.
Additionally, eBay is working with another company, Ormat, to build an off-site heat waste recovery plant that will take the heat from the natural gas pipeline it uses to generate more electricity through turbines. That plant will be completed in about 18 months.
“In Utah, we’re making one of the cleanest and greenest commerce transactions possible,” Nelson said.
The expansion of eBay’s data center just comes several months after the company opened its new customer service center in Draper.
The new two-building customer-service center employs 1,800 people and is the home for eBay’s customer service, technology development for software tools, and operations that include human resources and the legal and finance departments. Meanwhile, the data center employs about 60 workers and is about nine miles away from the customer-service center.
Both centers are LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold Certified, a standard for buildings and homes that leave a minimal carbon footprint.
The company, headquartered in San Jose, received a $38.2 million tax incentive from the state if it built its campus in Draper. In exchange, eBay promises to create 2,200 jobs by 2031.