A new way to Power the Planet? Bloom Box
A new way to Power the Planet?
A shiny box, containing Fuel Cells, claims to be the answer for one of the most serious problems that human race is facing now: Clean energy sources.
The “Bloom Box”, a roughly cubic structure has already been embraced by eBay, Google, Staples, FedEx and Walmart, but, is the new box the solution to all of mankind energy problems?
The Key word of this technology is Fuel Cells. This cells are devices that convert fuel into electricity through a clean electro-chemical process rather than dirty combustion. They are like batteries except that they always run.
KR Sridhar invented Bloom box. These boxes would store energy and if you take them to your house and connect it to the wires there then you can use it as electricity. By this invention there would be no need for the electricity wires. We compare it to what cell phones did to the telephone industry. Just like cell phones does not need telephone wires the bloom box technology removes the need for electricity wires.
Mr Sridhar originally invented a similar device years ago, when he was working for NASA designing infrastructure for a prospective Mars colony. Now he’s market the device right here on Earth. He describes, “The way we make it is in two blocks. This is a European home. The two put together is a U.S. home.” (1)
“Each Bloom Energy Server provides 100kW of power, enough to meet the baseload needs of 100 average homes or a small office building, day and night, in roughly the footprint of a standard parking space. For more power simply add more energy servers” (2). This is a $700,000 machine that is made out of solid oxide fuel cells (in this case, a stack of ceramic disks coated with green and black inks separated by metal alloy plates). When a fuel is added, the disks heat up to extreme temperatures and produce electricity. The box can run on a number of fuels, including natural gas, biomass gas, landfill gas, and ethanol. Sridhar explains “For the same amount of electricity, you need half the fuel…If you use a renewable fuel you are carbon neutral. Use all the electricity you want and don’t feel guilty about polluting the environment.”(3)
EBay recently installed five natural gas-powered Bloom Boxes, which now generate 15 percent of all power at the company’s San Jose, California, campus. They’re efficient, too—the company claims that its Bloom system generates five times more energy over the course of a year than its 3,246 solar panels since they can still generate power during adverse weather conditions. And unlike the company’s dispersed solar panels, a single Bloom Box fits in the size of a standard parking space.
One of the challenges of this technology is to lower the price to make it reachable for the home market. In the next decade, Bloom plans on bringing its technology to a more affordable price, so environmentally-minded consumers can quickly relieve themselves of monthly power bills from their local utility. Sridhar optimistically says he wants to get the price to under $3,000 in the next 5 to 10 years, though.
This technology is supposed to bring out the following advantages(4):
• On site power. This means we can eventually get rid of the grid of power lines and posts. And we can say goodbye to block-wide or city-wide power failure.
• Portable. It occupies the same space as the space occupied by a roll of tissue paper. So, a couple of cubes can be placed on any convenient place in the house, say on a shelf in the garage.
• Green. That is, it doesn’t contribute to atmospheric pollution as it is emission free. Actually, inasmuch as it uses fuel, there is still some emission but probably very minimal.
• Economical. A home-sized power installation is estimated to cost $3,000.00. If it’s true that EBay, one of the bloom box’s first big corporate users (Google was the first), has been using it and has declared a savings of $100,000.00 over a span of 9 months, this contraption must indeed be delivering to us the ideal energy source today.
Bloom Energy, announced Bloom Electrons, a service that allows customers the flexibility to purchase electricity provided by the Bloom Box without incurring any other costs. The new Bloom Electrons service has generated tremendous interest with existing and new customers.
The Bloom Electrons service allows customers to lock in their electricity rates for 10 years,
delivering fixed predictable costs and significant savings versus the grid. Bloom manages and
maintains the systems on the customers’ sites and the customers pay only for the electricity
consumed. This allows immediate cost savings with no initial investment, making onsite clean,
reliable, affordable energy more accessible.
“Bloom Electrons is about providing universal access to clean, reliable, affordable energy.
Empowering our customers to buy energy on their terms is another significant step on our
journey to change the way energy is generated and consumed in the world,” said KR Sridhar,
principal co-founder and CEO of Bloom Energy. “We are thrilled to welcome new customers and
take special pride in our repeat customers.” (5)
by The Great Gathering
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