Apple Doubles Fuel Cell from Waste to Power Data Center

Date: December 4, 2012

Source: News Room

Apple (Cupertino, CA) is doubling the size of its fuel cell project, which runs on landfill gas to power a data center in Maiden, North Carolina. Apple is adding fuel cells to increase output from 4.8 megawatts to 10 megawatts, following testing and initial success of the Maiden project. Powering the fuel cells is biogas from landfills that is cleaned and injected into the local natural gas pipeline (Directed Biogas). Fuel cells offer the advantage of converting biogas or natural gas to power more efficiently than combustion, without significant air emissions and with fewer moving parts. In this case, they will be using a renewable energy source and will not be dependent on the often unreliable and often more expensive energy grid.

Apple has contracted for fuel with Houston-based Element Markets Renewable Energy LLC, but has not publicly identified the ultimate source of the landfill methane it will procure.

See also: "Apple Will Use Landfill Gas to Power Data Center," (, April 30, 2012.

From Apple's Website:

Apple's data center in Maiden, North Carolina, will draw about 20 megawatts of power at full capacity. We'll be producing an unprecedented 60 percent of this power onsite. To do that, we're building what will be the nation's largest private solar arrays and the largest non-utility fuel cell installation operating anywhere in the country. That's a scale of onsite renewable energy production that no other company has matched. Onsite energy generation minimizes our dependence on the grid and reduces our environmental impact. And when our solar arrays and fuel cells are operating, Apple's Maiden data center will be the most environmentally sound data center ever built.

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