As revealed by GigaOM’s anonymous sources (via 9to5Mac), Apple has commissioned fuel cell maker Bloom Energy to supply the firm with fuel cells for its massive data center (for iTunes & iCloud) in Maiden, North Carolina. Apple’s 174-acre solar farm, which will be the largest end user–owned onsite solar array in the U.S, will provide approximately 42 million kWh of clean, renewable energy each year. The source believes that Apple already has “a few Bloom fuel cells running on its campus.”
Bloom’s Energy Server
Detailing from the source:
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.
As the source notes, each Bloom Box costs $700,000 to $800,000 and takes about as much room as a parking space. Besides Apple, Bloom Energy also has deals with Bank of America, Coca-Cola, FedEx, Walmart, eBay, Google and more.