Apple has entered into a partnership agreement with Denmark’s University of Aarhus to investigate bio-gas research and how sustainable energy can be obtained from agriculture.
The R&D partnership is part of “billion-kroner” (read: hundreds of millions of dollars) partnership, according to Denmark’s foreign minister, Kristin Jensen.
Apple’s interest in sustainable energy is no secret. As part of a dramatic turnaround for a company that was once slammed by Greenpeace, Tim Cook’s tenure at Apple has seen a focus on environmental issues. In 2013, the company announced that its data centers were all running on renewable energy, and this ambition was rapidly expanded to cover hundreds of Apple Stores.
Eventually the hope is that this same philosophy will even extend to cover Apple’s overseas supply chain.
“Apple’s goal is to achieve a net-zero impact on the world’s supply of sustainable virgin fibre and power all its operations worldwide on 100 percent renewable energy,” Cook has said, noting that this will take years, but is “a responsibility we accept.”
The newly-announced partnership with a university is interesting because it demonstrates a change in the highly-secretive way Apple usually conducts its research and development behind closed doors.
The difference, of course, is that in this case Apple isn’t launching a new product, but rather hoping to change the world for the better: something Cook has said he hopes other companies will copy.
The new R&D investment in Denmark follows on from an announcement last year that Apple would spend 6.3 billion kroner building a data center in Denmark. This investment represents the largest foreign capital investment in Danish history. The data center will be operational next year, and will run on 100 percent renewable energy to power Apple’s online services.