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Power Earth Hardware Apple IT

Apple's North Carolina Data Center Will Feature Biogas Generators 68

1sockchuck writes "Apple's North Carolina data center will tap landfills for biogas, which will then be converted into electricity using fuel cells from Bloom Energy. The 24 'Bloom boxes' will have a capacity of 4.8 megawatts of power, and along with a large solar array, will provide Apple with a significant on-site generation of sustainable energy. Microsoft is also developing biogas-powered data plants where modular data centers will be housed near water treatment plants and landfills. GigaOm has a useful primer on biogas in data centers, as well as video of the new higher capacity Bloom boxes that will support Apple's server farm."
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Apple's North Carolina Data Center Will Feature Biogas Generators

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  • by mstrcat ( 517519 ) on Tuesday May 01, 2012 @11:00AM (#39857347)

    First of all, enjoy a good chuckle at the term 'Biogas'. Most literature refers to it as 'Landfill gas' and the majority of landfill locations think of it as a waste product to be disposed of as cheaply as possible, mostly through flaring operations. The term 'Biogas' was invented by someone that that wanted to game California's renewable energy programs.

    As a fuel, it's marginal, having about 500 BTU per standard cubic foot of gas. Most sources are 10% nitrogen, 40% CO2, 45% methane and the balance oxygen, H2S, water, ethane, ect. The energy cost to clean the gas up to the point where something as high tech as a Bloom Box can use it can reach 60% of the energy of the entire gas stream, as water and CO2 removal are both energy expensive operations.

    Still, with all it's disadvantages, I hope Apple is able to make the system work reliably, if only because it's a hard engineering problem they are tackling. And it will be a good proof-of-practicality for the Bloom Boxes.

God doesn't play dice. -- Albert Einstein