Following my Hydrogen theme is a technology company named Apple. Yes, the iPod, iPhone and iPad company.
Apple is building private fuel cell plant in Maiden, NC where they house their data centre to support their data storage system and Siri voice-recognition system. This plant is to be powered by all renewable energy consisting of 60% generated on-site from the fuel cell and solar plants and 40% procured from local and regional renewable sources. The plant is to be operational by end of this year.
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act helped support the research on fuel cells technologies and clean energy resulting in many businesses using fuel cells for backup power to buildings or to power their own equipment. This is not including fuel cell powered vehicles which is already a winner for many automobiles and buses. Market potential for renewable energy in the commercial sector is getting better but not yet seeing rapid growth.
The chart below outlines different sources of U.S. electricity. Natural gas is projected to increase over this year and next. Renewable energy remains pretty much the same.
The transmission and distribution of renewable energy remains challenged. Natural gas pipeline covers more than 302,000 miles distributing to homes and businesses. Hydrogen pipeline has a ways to go as it only covers little less than 1% of total natural gas miles. Texas and Louisiana cover most of that 1% of hydrogen pipeline miles. Maybe we can learn how to manage the hydrogen supply distribution from current natural gas systems.