The Bloom Box and Buildings [Video]


If you had the chance to catch 60 Minutes on Sunday, you saw their exclusive on Bloom Energy.  The company has been in stealth mode for some time, but all of that appears to be over.  As reported by Lesley Stahl, which you can view in the video embedded below, Bloom makes a fuel cell that will be used to power homes (in the future) and commercial buildings (right now).

Pictured above is K.R. Sridhar with a fuel cell stack – two of these could power the average American home.  A retail store like Starbucks could be powered by about 64 stacks.  Each stack is made with multiple fuel cells.

The fuel cell is made with a layer of sand that is baked into a ceramic and then coated with proprietary green and black “inks.” This is then sandwiched by a metal plate made of a cheap metal alloy to complete the fuel cell.

The core of the Bloom box is made with multiple stacks.  The boxes require a fuel, such as natural gas, landfill gas, or bio-gas, which reacts with air in the fuel cell to create electricity.

Bloom boxes, according to Stahl, have been purchased and are being tested by 20 large California companies, including Google, FedEx, Wal-mart, Staples, and eBay. The ones bought by FedEx cost $700,000 – $800,000, with substantial state and federal incentives available to cut back the cost.

In five to ten years, Sridhar expects smaller Bloom box units in the residential context, with a unit costing somewhere less than $3,000.  It's an interesting prospect to consider.  In the meantime, Bloom Energy appears ready to blow the lid off their website tomorrow. 



Media credits: 60 Minutes/CBS

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  • Anonymous

    If they can ever make it affordable for the average homeowner, this could be a definite game-changer!

  • tridahl

    Interesting but obviously not THE SOLUTION and certainly not a technological revolution. It still needs fuel to produce electricity. The same principal as a heat pump, but more efficient.

  • that was easy, wait nevermind

    I wonder if methane could be used as the fuel? maybe a septic system could double as a fuel processor. no outside input needed? trucks have been run on sewage during war times… why not houses?

  • memory foam

    Great video. It is great to see such a creative technology like this that has already made it to pretty widespread use. So many of the good ideas out there never get to this stage. The fact that it can use a variety of fuels makes it potentially practical for many situations.

  • Erwinecosmart

    O.K.  With all the national study worries about all the methane gas produced as a result of natural gas extraction from underground, and the leaks in the delivery system, these machines still use a fossil fuel and therefore and cause pollution. Humans still don’t get it. Conserve power first. Use solar energy to produce electricity on the roofs of single family homes. Peddle a bicycle for one hour and produce electricity as part of your fitness program, enough for all your lighting needs.Then go elsewhere to but electricity….

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