Apple's Options for North Carolina Fuel Cell Installation Point to Bloom Energy

While Apple has received a fair amount of attention for its planned solar farm at its massive data center in Maiden, North Carolina, the company publicly disclosed less than two weeks ago that it will also be installing the largest non-utility fuel cell farm in the United States to help power the facility.


Bloom's Energy Server

GigaOm has assessed Apple's options for the 5-megawatt facility, determining that Bloom Energy appears to be Apple's partner in the project. Bloom, which is based in Sunnyvale, California near Apple's headquarters, is also said to already have "a few" of its fuel cells in operation on Apple's campus.

Bloom offers boxes capable of supplying 100 kW, which could translate into 50 Bloom Boxes being installed at Apple’s data center. Bloom has been in negotiations for similarly large-sized deals in the past, such as its negotiations in Delaware to build a 30 MW fuel cell farm (300 Bloom Boxes), and it has already installed 12 Bloom Boxes at Adobe’s campus in San Jose, Calif.

Apple is also touting the fact that its fuel cells will be run on biogas, and Bloom has substantial experience selling biogas-based fuel cells. Both Adobe and eBay are running their Bloom fuel cells on biogas. Bloom has also been the go-to fuel cell maker for Internet, telecom and computing giants’ experiments with fuel cells.

The report notes that Apple's options for fuel cell partners are relatively few, with UTC Power's larger fuel cell boxes not cleanly adding up to Apple's stated 5-megawatt capacity for the facility and FuelCell Energy specifically denying that it is working with Apple.

Apple is clearly interested in pursuing alternative energy sources for its facilities, and data centers are popular laboratories for such projects given their energy requirements and their typically rural locations that make it cheaper to dedicate land to energy production. The company already touts that its facilities in Austin, Sacramento, Munich, and Cork are powered by 100% renewable energy sources as part of a broad effort to reduce minimize its environmental impact across its facilities and throughout its products' life cycles.

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
113 months ago
Bloom is good stuff

Their technology is great but also really cool is generating power at the point of use. Distributed generation like that relieves a great deal of pressure on the grid and will lower costs and increase efficiency for everyone in the long run.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
113 months ago

I know in recent years Apple has worked hard to reduce their footprint by decreasing the size of their packaging and working on projects mentioned in the above article. However why is it when you order something like an Apple Keyboard, the box that it ships in is easily 5 times larger than the product box itself? Kind of defeats the purpose of having more minimal packaging.


The reduction of packaging size saves in shipping from factory to distribution centers when items are shipped in mass/bulk.

When they're shipped individually to customers, then they need to be placed in a larger box for protection. There's not much you can do to get around that - have you seen how shipping companies handle packages!? :eek:
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
113 months ago
Since Apple have so much money on reserve, it's great to see them trying to do some good with it.

Thanks for being good Apple. :)
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
113 months ago

This is awesome. Let's get this stuff into the mainstream, pronto.


Exactly. That's my hope for this. If big companies like Apple keep pushing alternative energy solutions for their business, hopefully that will increase research and production and push the cost of these solutions down. I'd love to take my house off the grid, but currently it's impossible for me to fund the up-front costs (even with government rebates). It makes so much sense to have individual homes generate most of their own energy.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
113 months ago
This is awesome. Let's get this stuff into the mainstream, pronto.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
113 months ago

It's a waste of money as anyone who has studied the costs and benefits knows. Only companies that are rolling in cash can afford it which is why only cos. like google and apple are mentioned.

Kind of like volts and karmas for the 1%ers.


The 8.5 kW array that I had placed on my roof here on the Peninsula has a payback period of 6.5 years assuming the rates don't change and my consumption doesn't change. (I pay $0/year for electricity now.)

In places like California with tiered power prices, you can pay off the panels in as little as 4 years if you put up a much smaller panel that eliminates the higher tiered consumption.

If the rates go up and/or my consumption goes up, the payback date is even shorter. (And this is ignoring the fact that when the panels went up, the appraised value of my home went up by double the cost of the panels.)

Your FUD is simply wrong - in sunny areas PV panels can pay for themselves rather quickly.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

New Photos Offer Better Look at iPhone 12 Color Options

Tuesday October 20, 2020 2:34 am PDT by
As we wait for the iPhone 12 review embargo to lift later today, more pictures are circulating of the devices in real-world lighting conditions, providing a better look at the different colors available. Leaker DuanRui has shared images on Twitter of the iPhone 12 in white, black, blue, green, and (PRODUCT)RED. The black and white colors are similar to the iPhone 11 colors, but the other...

iPhone 12 Pro in Graphite and iPhone 12 in Blue Shown Off in Unboxing Videos

Monday October 19, 2020 8:20 am PDT by
While the iPhone 12 Pro does not launch until Friday, we now have an early unboxing video of the device courtesy of Twitter account DuanRui, providing a closer look at the shiny new flat-edge design and sleek Graphite color option. Ben Geskin re-uploaded the unboxing video to YouTube, which we've embedded below: Geskin has also uploaded an unboxing video of the iPhone 12 in Blue: ...

Apple Releases iPadOS and iOS 14.1 With Multiple Bug Fixes Ahead of iPhone 12 Launch

Tuesday October 20, 2020 10:06 am PDT by
Apple today released iOS and iPadOS 14.1, the first major updates to the iOS and iPadOS 14 operating system updates that were released in September. iOS and iPadOS 14.1 come a week after Apple released the golden master versions of the updates to developers. The iOS 14.1 update can be downloaded for free and it is available on all eligible devices over-the-air in the Settings app. To access...

Watch: iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro Unboxing Videos and First Impressions

Tuesday October 20, 2020 6:05 am PDT by
Apple's embargo has lifted for iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro reviews. In addition to our detailed review roundups for each device, we've rounded up over a dozen unboxing videos and first impressions below. iPhone 12 in Blue on left and iPhone 12 Pro in Pacific Blue on right via Engadget Key new features of the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro include a flat-edge design, 5G support, a much faster A14 ...

Gold Version of iPhone 12 Pro Apparently Has a More Fingerprint Resistant Stainless Steel Frame

Tuesday October 20, 2020 11:56 am PDT by
iPhone 12 Pro reviews hit the web today, and one of the more interesting tidbits came from TechCrunch's Matthew Panzarino, who revealed that the Gold version of the device apparently has a more fingerprint resistant coating applied to the stainless steel frame. From his review:Most of the iPhone 12 Pro finishes still use a physical vapor deposition process for edge coating. But the new gold...

Photographer Austin Mann Tests the iPhone 12 Pro's Camera

Wednesday October 21, 2020 4:14 am PDT by
Travel photographer Austin Mann usually performs an in-depth review of new iPhone models to test their camera performance in real-world scenarios. To test Apple's new iPhone 12 Pro, Mann traveled to Glacier National Park, Montana. Mann focused on some of the biggest camera upgrades with the iPhone 12 Pro, including the upgraded Wide lens, Ultra Wide Night mode, and LiDAR autofocus, across a...

iPhone 12 Pro Max Has Smaller 3,687 mAh Battery According to Regulatory Filing

Tuesday October 20, 2020 8:48 pm PDT by
Apple's new iPhone 12 Pro Max is equipped with a 3,687 mAh battery, which is around 7% less capacity than the 3,969 mAh battery in the iPhone 11 Pro Max, according to a regulatory filing published by TENAA, the Chinese equivalent of the FCC. The regulatory filing, spotted by MacRumors, also lists the iPhone 12 Pro Max with 6GB of RAM as seen in benchmark results last week. Apple has filed ...

5G Drains iPhone 12 Battery 20% Faster Than 4G in Benchmark

Wednesday October 21, 2020 3:17 am PDT by
After the first reviews for the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro emerged yesterday, a new report by Tom's Guide reveals the extent of battery life reductions when using 5G. The report outlines a test wherein the iPhone surfs the web continuously at 150 nits of screen brightness, launching a new site every 30 seconds until the battery drains. Interestingly, the test was run on an iPhone 12 and...

Hands-On With Apple's iPhone 12 and 12 Pro MagSafe Cases

Tuesday October 20, 2020 1:33 pm PDT by
Apple's iPhone 12 and 12 Pro are launching this Friday, and ahead of that release date, Apple is shipping out various accessories like the MagSafe charger and MagSafe cases. Yesterday we took a look at the MagSafe charger, and today our MagSafe case came in the mail, so we thought we'd take another look at the charger to see how it works with the case and just how strong the case magnets are. S ...

Reliable Leaker Suggests AirTags 'Coming Soon' in Two Different Sizes

Tuesday October 20, 2020 1:53 am PDT by
Apple's rumored AirTags Bluetooth tracking devices could launch imminently and will be available in two size options, based on new tweets from cryptic-but-reliable leaker L0vetodream. In typical enigmatic style, the leaker first tweeted this morning that a "big one" and a "small one" are "coming soon," but withheld what they were referring to. However that was followed an hour later with the ...