Apple’s new Danish data center will supply heat to nearby homes, fertilizer to farmers

Apple’s commitment to environmental sustainability is well established, but the company is going one step further in its new Danish data center. In addition to powering the center entirely from renewable energy, the company is capturing the waste heat generated and feeding it into a district heating system, to warm local homes …

As MacWorld spotted, that’s not the only example of Apple’s desire to combine environmentalism with being a good neighbour.

The data center in the Jutland region will be partly powered by recycling waste products from farms. Apple is working with Aarhus University on a system that passes agricultural waste through a digester to generate methane, which is then used to help power the data center. The digester reaction turns some of the waste into nutrient-rich fertilizer, which Apple returns to local farmers to use on their fields.

The center should also be making a worthwhile contribution to the Danish economy. The government said last year that the $950M project represented the largest foreign capital investment in the country’s history. Coupled to the Irish data center – which has had something of a rough ride – the two add up to Apple’s biggest ever investment in Europe.

Apple said in its annual Environment Responsibility Report that it is working toward a goal of making all of its products from 100% recycled materials, ending the need for mining. It didn’t, however, put a time on this, which I think represents a missed opportunity.

Underlining the importance of renewable energy, a new app uses augmented reality to bring to life NASA’s projections of rising sea levels over the next 60-70 years.


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