Apple profiled for renewable energy in sapphire factory, says supply-chain is now the focus

After showing more journalists around its solar-powered North Carolina data center (where it is building a third solar farm), Apple says that its new focus for renewable energy is its supply chain. The Guardian reports that the sapphire factory in Arizona forms part of this initiative.

The company is also moving to install solar and geothermal power at a plant in Mesa, Arizona that has been manufacturing sapphire glass. Apple would not directly comment on the Arizona factory but the state’s governor, Jan Brewer, has publicly praised the company’s decision to relocate there and to use solar and geothermal in manufacturing.

Apple’s VP of environmental initiatives Lisa Jackson said that the company is conscious that its supply chain cannot claim the same green credentials as Apple itself …  Read more

Apple reportedly working w/ Intelligent Energy to integrate fuel cell tech in devices

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A report from the Daily Mail over the weekend claimed Apple is working with fuel cell company Intelligent Energy on a project that hopes to embed fuel cells in mobile devices “within a few years.” The Daily Mail doesn’t exactly have the best track record when it comes to accuracy, but the report claimed “senior sources in the US” have confirmed the partnership between the two companies. 

The technology could be rolled out in devices such as laptops and iPads, allowing them to run without being charged for days or even weeks…Intelligent Energy revealed upon floating that it bought a bundle of patents in tandem with a major ‘international electronics company’…It has kept the identity of its partner a closely-guarded secret. But a source, who has knowledge of the partnership, confirmed that Apple is the big name working with the Loughborough-based firm.

The report noted that Intelligent Energy already has ties to Apple with former Apple Computers product specialist Joe O’Sullivan sitting on the company’s board and a new office in San Jose not far from Apple’s headquarters in Cupertino.  Read more

Apple takes over hydroelectric plant project near its Oregon data center

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OregonLive notes that government filings from last week show Apple has taken over a hydroelectric project near its Oregon data center. Apple has previously reported that it powers its data centers entirely on renewable energy. The hydroelectric plant in Oregon will help maintain its 100% renewable energy rating. In fact, on Apple’s environmental website, the company notes that the Prineville site will source power from hydroelectric energy in addition to wind and solar.

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Apple looking to hire engineers with solar experience to work on mobile devices

Battery life phil schiller

Update: Apple has removed the job listing from its website, but we grabbed a screenshot below.

Apple appears to be investigating the use of thin film solar technology for future mobile products with a new job listing on the company’s website looking to hire an engineer with experience in the solar industry. The thin films engineer would join Apple’s Mobile Devices group and “assist in the development and refinement of thin films technologies applicable to electronic systems.” The job listing adds some proof to rumors in recent years that Apple was evaluating the use of solar panels for future products.

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Aerial shots of Apple’s NC Data Center show off 100-acre solar array, Bloom energy cells and new tactical data center[Gallery]

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Wired just published aerial shots of Apple’s data center in Maiden, N.C. from Monday, when construction crews were in the midst of laying foundation for a large structure in a northwest sylvan area, and it appears the company has just begun assembling its Bloom Energy fuel cells for biogas conversion.

According to Wired:

Our flyover captured some pretty clear images of the tactical data center, the massive solar array, and, of course, this new mystery building.

Check out some closeups of the parts below, and Wired for full gallery and details.

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At around 5MW, Apple’s new solar roof could make it among the biggest in the US, power a million AppleTVs

Today’s updated Apple Headquarters Spaceship campus plans include a roof made almost entirely out of solar cells, according to details released today. With a building as large as Apple’s, that puts it in the top corporate solar installations in the world and the biggest in the US.  The current title holder is the 4.26 MW system in Edison New Jersey and another being built by ToysRus in sunny NJ is rated 5.38MW


From today’s plans

From today’s plans, we can estimate the roof surface area to be over 750,000 square feet.  Assuming (conservatively) 2/3rds of that, or 500,000 square feet of that is utilized for solar, that gives Apple close to a 5MW installation on the amin building alone. On average or as a general “rule of thumb” modern photovoltaics (PV) solar panels will produce up to 10 watts per square foot of solar panel area.  Since Cupertino is generally favorable in terms of weather and Apple will obviously use the latest Solar technology developed in the coming years, that could give Apple over 5,000,000 Watts of power to play with.  Additionally, Apple has a few other buildings on campus that could be outfitted with solar roofs. The plans list a photovoltaic roof canopy of 320,000 sq.ft. just on the parking building. Read more