Apple to fuel data center with biogas

By Anna Austin | April 10, 2012

Apple Inc. has filed an application with the North Carolina Utilities Commission for a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity to construct a 5 MW, 100 percent biogas-powered fuel cell facility in Catawba County, N.C. The project was announced in Apple’s 2012 environmental update.

Located on a site adjacent to its existing data center in Maiden, N.C., the facility will consist of 24 200-kilowatt alternating current all-electric fuel cell systems, making it the largest non-utility fuel cell installation in the U.S., according to Apple.

It will sit on a concrete pad outdoors, and no buildings will be constructed in connection with the facility, according to the March 28 filing. Directed biogas will be sent to the facility via Piedmont Natural Gas, and the electricity generated will be used to power the data center.  

Apple projects the facility will begin generating electricity as early as June, and anticipates all systems to be online by the end of November.

The company is also constructing a 100-acre, 20 MW solar farm near the Maiden facility.