Apple signs deal to harness energy from landfill gas in North Carolina

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in General Discussion
Continuing the company's efforts in green energy, Apple and North Carolina's Catawba County have reportedly signed a 16-year lease agreement that will let it build a plant generating power from landfill gas.

A Jenbacher engine similar to the kind used at the Blackburn Resource Recovery Facility.
A Jenbacher engine similar to the kind used at the Blackburn Resource Recovery Facility.


The county's Board of Commissioners approved the lease on Monday, according to the Hickory Daily Record. Apple will get about 3.7 acres at the Blackburn Resource Recovery Facility in Newton, paying just $5,569.50 in rent per year for the first five years, after which prices will be allowed to fluctuate -- though never below the original amount. After the initial 16 years, Apple will have an option to extend its lease by five more.

In a related agreement the county agreed to sell about 40 percent of its landfill methane to Quadrogen Power Systems, which will treat the gas for use at Apple's facility. The remaining methane will be used by the county for other energy purposes.

County Attorney Debra Bechtel noted that the county isn't spending any tax dollars on the project, and will even be able to avoid buying another engine to extract energy from the gas, at least in the near future.

The Daily Record didn't say what Apple intends to use the extra energy for, but Catawba County is also the site of one of the company's bigger datacenters, which it currently powers with a mix of solar energy and biogas. Tapping into an additional source should allow Apple to keep the complex powered by renewables.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 8
    lmasantilmasanti Posts: 96member
    quote: ‘The Daily Record didn't say what Apple intends to use the extra energy for…’

    Solar generation works while the sun shines.
    Data center works 24/7.
    Land fill gas generation works while you have waste (almost always and increasing)… so it can work 27/7.
    But better, yet, it produces gas than can be stored…

    So, mix solar and gas and you can have a 27/7 renewable energy source (of course, it depends the size of each element). 
    ai46
  • Reply 2 of 8
    zoetmbzoetmb Posts: 2,582member
    This is very cool.   It benefits the locality (although the 'rent' does seem a bit low), it benefits Apple and it benefits the environment.  And perhaps most importantly, it provides yet another demonstration that companies can be focused on margin and profitability and still help the environment.    
    baconstangai46mwhitetomkarl
  • Reply 3 of 8
    MacProMacPro Posts: 19,334member
    Apple Power Co seems to be on a roll.
  • Reply 4 of 8
    sacto joesacto joe Posts: 895member
    lmasanti said:
    quote: ‘The Daily Record didn't say what Apple intends to use the extra energy for…’

    Solar generation works while the sun shines.
    Data center works 24/7.
    Land fill gas generation works while you have waste (almost always and increasing)… so it can work 27/7.
    But better, yet, it produces gas than can be stored…

    So, mix solar and gas and you can have a 27/7 renewable energy source (of course, it depends the size of each element). 
    It's also straightforward to convert the methane to methanol, which can be stored onsite as an ambient temperature, ambient pressure liquid. 

    http://www.methanol.org/Methanol-Basics/Overview/How-is-Methanol-Made-.aspx

    And any excess carbon can be used to effectively "store" H2 from excess solar energy-generated electricity as methane/methanol. 

    BTW, it's now been shown that CO2 can be stored in basalt as limestone in large amounts. 

    http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-36494501 ;

    Thus, any CO2 created from "burning" methane or methanol can be kept out of the atmosphere.
  • Reply 5 of 8
    theothergeofftheothergeoff Posts: 2,081member
    lmasanti said:
    quote: ‘The Daily Record didn't say what Apple intends to use the extra energy for…’

    Solar generation works while the sun shines.
    Data center works 24/7.
    Land fill gas generation works while you have waste (almost always and increasing)… so it can work 27/7.
    But better, yet, it produces gas than can be stored…

    So, mix solar and gas and you can have a 27/7 renewable energy source (of course, it depends the size of each element). 

    wow... Apple is converting Energy into Time!  If I'm doing the math correctly, They'll need enough energy to get the data center moving at about 55% the speed of light.     Obviously using Matter/AntiMatter catalyzed by Dilithium Crystals would be the status quo power source, likely inefficent at only 2X impulse power... yeah, methane would be better.  


    edited June 2016
  • Reply 6 of 8
    latifbplatifbp Posts: 544member
    On... the... cheap
    pulseimages
  • Reply 7 of 8
    Years and years ago, Apple bored a WWDC crowd, I think it was WWDC, with an exciting yawn, Steve Jobs quipped, we are dropping the Computer from our name and going with Apple Inc. I guess now we can comprehend why he made such a comment, he was the master of slight of hand.
  • Reply 8 of 8
    plovellplovell Posts: 818member
    There's a bit of irony in using the label "renewable" for this. It's renewable as long as we keep throwing stuff in landfills. I'm not sure that's fully in the spirit of "renewable". But I certainly agree it's better than having it escape.
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