Growth5 Blog

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Bloom Box

Bloom Energy is unveiling a fuel-cell product today that can power a small office building. Within the next decade they hope to power your home 24/7/365 with a unit the size of a shoe box that costs less than $3,000.

Other tidbits about Bloom from the article:
1. Bloom's technology gives users the ability to produce their own electricity, eliminating the grid.

2. Bloom Energy, financed by leading VCs to the tune of $400 million or so to-date, has been in stealth mode for eight years. Today, it's scheduled to announce that 20 companies, including Wal-Mart, Google, eBay, FedEx, Staples, Coca-Cola, Bank of America and Cox Enterprises, have bought Bloom's fuel-cell boxes. The commercial use boxes are about the size of a parking space and cost $700,000 to $800,000.

3. Bloom's fuel cell works by having air and fuel — such as natural gas, ethanol or biogas — fed into the cell. The oxygen ions react with the fuel to produce electricity. There's no burning, so the fuel cell is two-thirds cleaner than coal-fired plants, Bloom says.

4. Bloom's big breakthrough was reducing breakage by figuring out how to get the cells and the metal plates that go between them in the stacks to expand and shrink at the same rate at temperatures up to 800 degrees Celsius (1,472 degrees Fahrenheit). The high heat makes the fuel more reactive and the cell more efficient. The heat also enables use of different fuels, making the tech easier and cheaper to deploy.

5. Bloom's lead venture-capital backer, John Doerr, who also helped fund Netscape and Google, says Bloom's technology won't solve the USA's clean-energy needs. "It's not a silver bullet," he says, but a piece of an emerging clean-energy economy. "Everybody wants clean, reliable, affordable electricity," Doerr says.
You can watch the 60 Minutes piece on Bloom here.

Thanks Steve for sending me the article on this.

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