Stories tagged Bloom Box

Jan
25
2011

Bloom Energy is a CA business that has developed a fuel cell called the Bloom Box. The Bloom Box is a self-contained source of energy. So far its on-site application has been cost prohibitive for the mainstream. To make the Bloom Box more accessible, Bloom Energy is rolling out a system that enables corporations to derive power from the Bloom Box without actually buying it.

The Bloom Electrons Program details

The Bloom Box is something that Bloom Energy got to the clean energy industry. The Bloom Box is an "energy server" that produces electricity with a chemical response and extremely low carbon footprint. Want to understand the price of a Bloom Box? Over $700,000 is the cost. The price has caused the number of Bloom Energy consumers to be pretty low. Corporations consist of B of A, FedEx, eBay and Google. To increase demand for Bloom Boxes, Bloom Energy partnered with Credit Suisse and Silicon Valley Bank to create Bloom Electrons. Bloom Electrons is a financing business that offers 10-year contracts for electricity from on site Bloom Boxes at a fixed rate.

Powering Bloom Electrons with clean power

There are not upfront costs for businesses to use Bloom Box meaning the companies can go off the grid with Bloom Electrons. Companies that have already purchased Bloom Boxes up front expect to recoup the cost of the unit anywhere from three to six years after they're installed. With Bloom Electrons, Bloom Energy said businesses can start saving up to 20 percent immediately on what they're paying in CA. At present, Bloom Electrons only pencils out in California. It's about ten cents per kilowatt-hour within the U.S. for average electricity. About 14 cents per kilowatt-hour is what Bloom boxes do. This is a different price. Bloom Electrons power comes down to about 7 cents per kilowatt-hour with the California subsidies and federal clean power incentives.

The whole world getting Bloom Box soon

Bloom Energy said the Bloom Box will offer businesses a competitive energy advantage without the need for subsidies in three to five years. The first thing the company is worried about is meeting demand for the Bloom Electrons system. The production will need to go up. If you look back 2 years, Bloom Energy was not very fast. About one Bloom Box a month was made. When it comes to shipping Bloom Boxes, the business has gotten faster. It can do one a day now. If Bloom Energy can decrease the production price along with increasing production, it could eventually meet its goal of supplying clean power to the creating world.

Citations

Business Week

businessweek.com/technology/content/jan2011/tc20110120_212633.htm

TechCrunch

techcrunch.com/2011/01/20/bloom-launches-financing-service/

Reuters

reuters.com/article/idUS9777404420110120

Feb
23
2010

There's lots of buzz (normal buzz, not our patented Science Buzz) on the 'net today about the "Bloom Box" featured on 60 Minutes this weekend.

It seemed to me to be a pretty junky interview and feature, but I'm intrigued nonetheless; the Bloom Box is supposed to be an efficient new fuel cell that would allow electricity to be produced at the site where it will be used, eliminating transmission losses, and efficiently converting fuel to energy.

It runs on hydrocarbons, but it sounds like it's pretty omnivorous as to the kinds it can use (so natural gas works, but so would carbon-neutral biogas, etc), and it presumably emits CO2, only much less of it than traditional power generation. (The interview was extremely fuzzy on that aspect, but the Atlantic's article about Bloom from a month ago says that the device does release CO2.)

Something like 20 companies in California are already testing Bloom Box units, and the people making them to have attracted a ton of money, so the technology doesn't look quite so pie in the sky as a lot of other energy inventions we're supposed to get excited about.

The guy behind the Bloom Box believes that, inside of a decade, you'll be able to have one in your basement for something like $3000 dollars. More expensive than a used Super Nintendo, but, as far as major appliances go, pretty darn cheap. We'll see about that, sir... The featured skeptic seems to think that, if we see it at all, we'll see it coming from a company like GE, not Bloom Energy.

Here's the 60 Minutes piece:

Watch CBS News Videos Online

The whole operation has been kept pretty secret until recently, and supposedly there will be more details coming soon.

But until then... What do you think? Ho-hum? Hoax? Or is this something to be excited about?