Apple's North Carolina Data Center to Double in Size
According to a new filing with the North Carolina Utilities Commission, Apple plans to double the number of fuel cells deployed at its Maiden data center, with a total energy output able to power about 6,250 homes. Apple’s existing array of 24 hydrogen-based “Energy Servers” outputs 4.8 megawatts of power and is currently the largest private installation of its kind; however the company plans to add another 26 fuel cells to the project, upping its power yield to 10 megawatts by January. Just to put things into perspective, the 10 megawatt power plant can power up to 6,250 average households when running at full capacity.
Built by Bloom Energy, the fuel cells convert clean methane from a nearby landfill to usable electricity which feeds Apple’s massive $1 billion Maiden, N.C. data center. For those of you who didn’t know, the facility is home to iCloud, Siri, among other online assets. As of right now, the source of methane remains unannounced but it was noted that a contract for the fuel was signed with Houston-based Element Markets Renewable Energy, LLC with a local firm, Piedmont Natural gas, being a prime contender.
For Apple’s data center to even be considered a renewable facility the company will have to produce or purchase biogas of its own to offset the methane being piped into the fuel cells and the new filing states that excess electricity will be sold to Duke energy. In addition to the fuel cell farm, Apple has also built the country’s largest solar array to help power its data center. The data center provides 42 million kilowatt hours of clean energy per year.
Source: Charlotte Observer