I’ve talked about Apple, Inc., you know the computer, iPhone, iTunes company before as being a visionary when it comes to hydrogen fuel cells. I’ve also talked once about how Apple may help H2 fuel cells go mainstream by using them in their laptops and other electronic devices.
But, now Apple is going with hydrogen fuel cells on a grander scale. In their North Carolina datacenter Apple is building, with the help of Bloom Energy a 4.8-megawatt power plant which will be the nation’s largest, private fuel cell project.
The datacenter is supporting its SIRI voice recognition software and Apple’s iCloud online data storage system.
According to the News Observer, “…the fuel cell facility could be in operation toward the end of the year. Beyond that information, Apple officials would not comment on the project. Nor would Bloom Energy, the Sunnyvale, Calif.-based company that will build it. The fuel cell modules, called Bloom Boxes, are used also by Walmart, Google, Staples, eBay, Cox Enterprises, FedEx, Bank of America, Coca-Cola, AT&T and Adobe, according to Bloom’s web site.
“Apple does stand to receive bonus payments from Duke Energy if it puts clean energy on Duke’s grid, offsetting electricity from conventional power plants. The amount Apple would receive for selling renewable energy certificates to Duke would be privately negotiated. Duke is required under a 2007 state law to buy electricity generated from renewable resources to meet the state’s green energy targets.”
One of the barriers to getting hydrogen cars on the road is public acceptance of fuel cells. Apple is doing more than its part to showcase and endorse fuel cells as a future energy path we need to follow. Sometimes one has to wonder who is more progressive between Silicon Valley and Detroit.
Is it Apple pushing for hydrogen fuel cells and Google inventing its driverless car as they did a short while ago or the automakers inventing hydrogen cars and sticking to their guns that this is indeed the future that many other people fail yet to see?
My personal belief is that it doesn’t really matter. Any company whether they build software, electronic devices or automobiles and pushes us into a clean energy future is Okay in my book. And as more big players continue to push this agenda the time-line shortens for getting where we need to be.
By the way since Google has put its driverless car in motion with a blind man “driving” it to Taco Bell, I was thinking I would like to see an Apple iCar FCV rolling out in the next couple of years using similar technology. This time, however, instead of a blind man driving they could have a 16-year-old texting and hopefully have the same safe results.