Apple data centre powered by agricultural biomass



Aarhus University is helping Apple benefit from biomass as a part of the future power supply for the company’s data center in Denmark. The American multinational technology company will invest more than DKK 20 million in the research and development project facilitated by the Danish university in order to clear the way for the utilisation of biomass.

By State of Green, 2016.10.05
Aarhus University is helping Apple benefit from biomass as a part of the future power supply for the company’s data center in Denmark.

Biomass from manure and left-over corn will be included in the energy supply required at Apple’s future data center in Viborg, announced the Nordic manager, Erik Stannow at Friday’s press conference on the firm’s investment in the data center.

-From day one, we will supply the center with renewable energy including solar and wind power. In times of cloudy and windless weather, biomass will be able to meet our energy demand, says Erik Stannow.

Apple will invest more than DKK 20 million in a research and development project that will clear the way for the utilisation of biomass. The money will go to Aarhus University, Apple’s future next-door neighbour when the data center is complete.

– Related news: Apple Establishes One of the World’s Largest Data Centers in Denmark – Powered by Renewables

The university is excited about their collaboration with Apple:

-We share Apple’s ambition to develop new sources for renewable energy and we are eager to collaborate with them in this project, states Niels C. Nielsen, the Dean at the Science and Technology Department at Aarhus University.

-Even though biogas is a tremendously important resource, it is underdeveloped at present. We believe this research cooperation will lead to substantial innovations in the ability to deliver a stable source for renewable energy, he says.

At the press conference, Erik Stannow also used the opportunity to talk about the warm welcome from the citizens of Viborg:

-We are grateful for the great support from the municipality, the city council, Invest in Denmark, and the community.

The leveling of the area where the new data center will be built is underway.

To show goodwill towards the local area of Viborg, Apple has agreed to finance the expansion of a bicycle track, enabling the citizens in Foulum to cycle safely to Viborg.

The Mayor of Viborg, Torsten Nielsen (K) hopes that the data center with its 150 job positions will foster even more jobs within the municipality. A vision the Nordic Manager at Apple also shares:

-Like the case has been in other countries, we expect to attract other big businesses and contribute to an increase in local investments here in Viborg, Erik Stannow says.

The CEO of Apple is visiting Denmark in order to attend an open house event where 800 citizens from the Foulum area are invited.

Activities at the event will include a viewing of a model of the future data center as well as a number of visualisations of the center.

The first phase of the building is expected to be done by the end of 2017. Ongoing expansions will continue up until 2026.

Apple recently decided to install one of the world’s largest datacenters in Denmark, powered only by renewable energies.

Datacenters, or data centers in French, are buildings consisting of computer hardware (servers, in particular) intended to contain and process all the data that transit online.

In the case of Apple, it can be music as well as user information (identifiers, passwords, etc.).

The University of Aarhus is thus helping the Cupertino firm to design a system to supply the future data center with energy from biomass.

The biomass in question will come from corn and manure residues. As soon as the building is inaugurated, the energy needs of the building will be met by solar panels and wind power.

The biomass will come in reinforcement in case the time does not allow the complete use of the photovoltaic and the wind.

C. Nielsen, Dean of the Department of Science at Aarhus University, expressed his satisfaction at the idea of ​​this collaboration:

We share Apple’s ambition to develop new sources of renewable energy, and we look forward to working with them on this project.

Even if biogas is a very important resource, it remains underdeveloped. We believe that this collaboration will lead to important innovations in delivering a stable renewable energy source.

The project is supported by the Municipality of Viborg, and Apple has committed to fund, in return, the extension of a bike path between Viborg and a neighboring city.

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