Apple’s top 5 sustainability successes
As the world’s top tech company prepares to launch the iPhone 7 today, we take a look at the strides it has made in the realms of sustainability.
Renewable Data Centres
All of Apple’s data centres have been powered by renewable energy since 2013. The structures which house the computing infrastructure for features like Siri, iTunes and the App Store are powered by energy that is either generated onsite or purchased from external providers.
Three of the company’s US-based data centres — in Oregon, North Carolina and Nevada — earned top level Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification from the US Green Building Council.
Last year, Apple entered into a 25-year power purchase agreement (PPA) with PV developer First Solar Inc. The $848 million deal will see the tech titan receive power from 130MW of First Solar’s California Flats Solar Project in Monterey County, California. Construction on the solar farm is set to be complete by the end of this year.
Partnering for the planet
As many Apple products are manufactured in China, the company launched a programme in 2015 aimed at helping its partners there become more energy-efficient. The initiative will see the company working alongside its Chinese suppliers to install more than 2GW of clean energy in the coming years.
Lens Technology, a manufacturer of flat glass which produces components for Apple products, announced last month that it is going to power all of its operations using renewables.
By the time operations commence at Apple’s new headquarters in Cupertino, California next year, the roof of the facility will be blanketed in solar panels. Earlier this summer it was revealed that the company will sell the excess energy it generates at its headquarters, and other locations, to wholesale energy markets.
In June, a subsidiary named Apple Energy LLC applied to the US Federal Energy Regulatory Commision to sell power from its solar farms, hydroelectric plants and biogas facilities across the country.
Last year, the company claimed to have powered a staggering 93 percent of its operations using renewable energy. It is working to reduce it carbon footprint across its operations, from manufacturing to product use and transport. While there is no established timeline for reaching 100 percent renewable energy or carbon neutrality, the company has stated its commitment to preserving the planet for future generations.
Trafigura and Yara International explore clean ammonia usage
Reducing shipping emissions is a vital component of the fight against global climate change, yet Greenhouse Gas emissions from the global maritime sector are increasing - and at odds with the IMO's strategy to cut absolute emissions by at least 50% by 2050.
How more than 70,000 ships can decrease their reliance on carbon-based sources is one of transport's most pressing decarbonisation challenges.
Yara and Trafigura intend to collaborate on initiatives that will establish themselves in the clean ammonia value chain. Under the MoU announced today, Trafigura and Yara intend to work together in the following areas:
- The supply of clean ammonia by Yara to Trafigura Group companies
- Exploration of joint R&D initiatives for clean ammonia application as a marine fuel
- Development of new clean ammonia assets including marine fuel infrastructure and market opportunities
Magnus Krogh Ankarstrand, President of Yara Clean Ammonia, said the agreement is a good example of cross-industry collaboration to develop and promote zero-emission fuel in the form of clean ammonia for the shipping industry. "Building clean ammonia value chains is critical to facilitate the transition to zero emission fuels by enabling the hydrogen economy – not least within trade and distribution where both Yara and Trafigura have leading capabilities. Demand and supply of clean ammonia need to be developed in tandem," he said.
There is a growing consensus that hydrogen-based fuels will ultimately be the shipping fuels of the future, but clear and comprehensive regulation is essential, according to Jose Maria Larocca, Executive Director and Co-Head of Oil Trading for Trafigura.
Ammonia has a number of properties that require "further investigation," according to Wartsila. "It ignites and burns poorly compared to other fuels and is toxic and corrosive, making safe handling and storage important. Burning ammonia could also lead to higher NOx emissions unless controlled either by aftertreatment or by optimising the combustion process," it notes.
Trafigura has co-sponsored the R&D of MAN Energy Solutions’ ammonia-fuelled engine for maritime vessels, has performed in-depth studies of transport fuels with reduced greenhouse gas emissions, and has published a white paper on the need for a global carbon levy for shipping fuels to be introduced by International Maritime Organization.
Oslo-based Yara produces roughly 8.5 million tonnes of ammonia annually and employs a fleet of 11 ammonia carriers, including 5 fully owned ships, and owns 18 marine ammonia terminals with 580 kt of storage capacity – enabling it to produce and deliver ammonia across the globe.
It recently established a new clean ammonia unit to capture growth opportunities in emission-free fuel for shipping and power, carbon-free fertilizer and ammonia for industrial applications.