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The Kleiner Perkins crew graced the cover of the New York Times Sunday Magazine this weekend for Jon Gertner’s snapshot of how venture capitalists are betting big on the cleantech industry. It’s a solid overview of the state of the industry, and for those that have […]

The Kleiner Perkins crew graced the cover of the New York Times Sunday Magazine this weekend for Jon Gertner’s snapshot of how venture capitalists are betting big on the cleantech industry. It’s a solid overview of the state of the industry, and for those that have been following the cleantech world closely, it had a few juicy bits on Kleiner’s first cleantech investment, a still somewhat stealthy fuel-cell maker, Bloom Energy. The story says that out of Kleiner’s cleantech investments, Bloom Energy is one of the closest to unveiling a product — the startup “will almost certainly have a commercial product ready within a year or two,” according to the story.

The five-kilowatt Bloom box has supposedly become “a high-functioning machine,” and the story even shows a picture of the white refrigerator-looking box. In a successful test at the University of Tennessee in Chattanooga over the past two years, engineers ran a Bloom box on natural gas for 6,000 hours and found it to be twice as efficient as a boiler burning natural gas, with 60 percent lower carbon emissions. Kleiner partner Aileen Lee told Gertner that the Bloom box can produce electricity using natural gas or a variety of liquid fuels, including ethanol.

The story also notes that it’s taken $250 million of investment and six years to get Bloom to where it is today — testing products, with 200 employees and one to two years from delivering a product. After interviewing Kleiner partner John Doerr about Bloom’s finances, Gertner writes that a Bloom IPO is probably another few years away. The company is unusually stealthy for such a mature firm, but it seems like it’s starting to open up a bit now that it’s getting closer to production. If Bloom really does have a commercial fuel cell ready within a year, and it performs as shown in initial testing, Kleiner’s sizable first foray into cleantech could be its first substantial hit.

  1. You note:

    “engineers ran a Bloom box on natural gas for 6,000 hours and found it to be twice as efficient as a boiler burning natural gas, with 60 percent lower carbon emissions.”

    So, are they going to boil water with with this fuel cell device, or convert natgas electrochemically to electricity? Is that comparison relevant?

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    1. It was said that the device could be installed in homes, generating both electricity and heat, which would result in big efficiency gains. Commenters on Reddit point out that the real savings may lie in avoiding transmission and maintenance costs with a machine that’s much simpler to handle than a full fledged power plant. Although the boxes cost a lot (up to $800K), the amount of power they allegedly put out more than makes up for it.

      Is this the future? http://bit.ly/bloom-energy-will-change-the-world

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  2. [...] of the smart power grid, says this morning that it is raising $75 million, led by the green VC folks at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. Founded in 2002 Silver Spring is a mature startup and this funding comes from Kleiner’s [...]

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  3. Seems like another trick by the garbage boys.

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  4. [...] of the smart power grid, says this morning that i’s raising $75 million, led by the green VC folks at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. Founded in 2002, Silver Spring is a mature startup and this funding comes from Kleiner’s [...]

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  5. [...] 2008 at 5:00 am in Hitlines,Startups Bloom Energy, the Kleiner Perkins-backed fuel-cell startup reported to “almost certainly have a commercial product ready within a year or two,” has just [...]

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  6. [...] Energy, the Kleiner Perkins-backed fuel-cell startup reported to “almost certainly have a commercial product ready within a year or two,” has just [...]

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  7. [...] Media:  The Mystery of Bloom Energy, Bloom Energy – close to unveiling it’s fuel cell [...]

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  8. This technology is silly. When Solar Cells are introduced capable of powering homes, this technology will be obsolete. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. Ride the wave while you can. Good stock pick for now.

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    1. Whats silly is solar cells. Unless you want a room full of batteries. Liberals never think things through. Drill here , drill now,nukes,coal are the answer not the windmill, not the tides, not the green fairy.

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  9. [...] has never been forthcoming with details (unusually so for a company at this stage), and it didn’t confirm the one-to-two-year plan. But documents obtained by VentureWire now [...]

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  10. [...] in late February, saying that it intends to use the money to commercialize its lead product — a cell that can convert natural gas and feedstocks into hydrogen fuel. The company claims that just one of these cells is enough to power a whole home or small business. [...]

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