Apple will return excess heat from new data center to the heating system of the local community
The new facility will be built in the Jutland region of Denmark, and it will be powered only by renewable energy. A portion of this energy will come from recycled farm waste.
Apple is working with Aarhus University on a system to process agricultural waste products with a digester, which in turn generates methane. The methane is then used as a power source for the data center.
A byproduct from this process is a nutrient-rich fertilizer, which Apple will return to local farmers. In its environment report for 2016, Apple said that this is a “mutually beneficial relationship”, and it certainly sounds like one.
Data centers are probably the least energy-efficient facilities in the tech sector, and they generate a lot of excess heat. Apple has a plan for this, too. The company is planning to collect the heat generated by the facility and return it to the local heating system, effectively warming local homes up with the energy that would otherwise go to waste.
Another Apple data center, that's being built in Athenry, Ireland, will be powered by energy generated by ocean waves. The company is working with Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland to develop a new energy source, Apple said.
The two data centers are expected to start operation this year, and they will cost a total of $1.8 billion to build.