Apple's NC Data Center to Include 24 Fuel Cells
At the end of February, Apple revealed the renewable energy plans for its LEED Platinum certified data center in North Carolina that will feature a 20 MW solar array -- the largest end-user owned array in the country -- and a fuel cell installation with a capacity of about 5 MW. At the time, not much information was known about the fuel cell component, but a recent filing with the North Carolina Utilities Commission tells us a bit more.
The filing states that Apple will install 24 fuel cell modules with a capacity of 200 kW each next to the data center, making it the largest non-utility fuel cell installation in the country. The fuel cells will use biogas to generate electricity as soon as June 2012 and the whole 4.8 MW installation should be completed by this November.
Greensboro, North Carolina's News and Record states that the provider will be Bloom Energy, the fuel cell startup that made huge waves two years ago when it came out of stealth mode and revealed it already had a list of clients including FedEx, Google, eBay, Coca-Cola, Staples, and Wal-Mart using its Bloom Boxes.
The same article reports that Apple will use hydrogen from natural gas coming from Piedmont Natural Gas in the fuel cells and then, to offset that natural gas use, it will produce landfill methane gas or some other biogas.