Apple to Install 5 MW Fuel Cell System at its North Carolina Data Centre

21 Feb 2012

Apple to Install 5 MW Fuel Cell System at its North Carolina Data Centre

Apple’s $1 billion, 500,000 square foot Maiden, North Carolina data centre is one of the largest in the States and is the primary resource for over 100 million iCloud accounts and the expansive iTunes and App Stores. Apple has shown significant interest in its environmental image in recent years – removing toxic materials from all its products and reducing the size of the packaging they ship in – and the commissioning of its latest data centre reflected this. The centre was designed to be as energy-efficient as possible and is the only such centre to be LEED Platinum certified.

Apple now wants to sustainably power the centre through a 25 MW renewable energy project, which will consist of:

  • A 20 MW, 100 acre onsite solar array – the largest end-user-owned array in the country – providing 42 million kWh of renewable baseload annually;
  • A 5 MW biogas-fed fuel cell installation – the largest non-utility fuel cell installation in the country – which will provide 40 million kWh of renewable baseload annually when it comes online later this year.

These developments were revealed through the publication of Apple’s Facilities Report 2012 Environmental Update. It is unclear at present which manufacturer is providing the fuel cell system. The very high reliability of fuel cells make them a perfect fit for power critical operations such as data centres and we hope to see other big names follow Apple’s lead in this field.

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