The Bloom Box: What All the Fuss Is About

129 Comments

This is secretive fuel cell company Bloom Energy’s big week. Tonight 60 Minutes aired an exclusive look inside the Bloom Box, and on Wednesday the company is officially launching, after operating for 8 years and having reportedly raised around $400 million from investors like Kleiner Perkins.

Watch the video clips, embedded below, to see what the Bloom Box actually looks like — kindof like an industrial-sized refrigerator, that sucks up oxygen on one side and fuel (natural gas, biomass, etc) on the other. 60 Minute’s reporter Lesley Stahl takes a look at the “secret sauce” behind the Bloom Box, and reports that Bloom bakes sand and cuts it into little squares that are turned into a ceramic, which are then coated with green and black “inks.” Using a special process Bloom creates these ceramic discs and stacks them together interspersed with metal plates of “a cheap metal alloy.” The bigger the stack the more power the Bloom Box will create.

Watch CBS News Videos Online

For those of you less familiar with fuel cells, they’re like a chemical battery, which combines solutions to create a chemical reaction that delivers electricity. Fuel cells have been under development by hundreds of manufacturers in the consumer electronics and auto industries for decades, but have remained too expensive and have been unable to break into the mainstream. It will be a very difficult road for Bloom, and Fortune reports that Bloom Energy lost $85 million in 2008, “according to venture capitalists that have seen its business plan.”

Stahl dug up some interesting tidbits beyond being the first reporter to get a glimpse of the device. Like the fact that Bloom Energy CEO K.R. Sridhar originally came up with the idea for the Bloom Box after developing a device for NASA that would be able to create oxygen on Mars. After NASA ditched their Mars mission, Sridhar had the idea to reverse the oxygen-creating Mars box and use oxygen as the input instead.

Stahl also reports that a Google datacenter has been using 4 Bloom Boxes for the past 18 months. Google was Bloom’s first customer and while Google’s Bloom boxes use natural gas, they use “about half as much as would be required for a traditional power plant,” reports Stahl.

Now that Bloom is starting to talk publicly, it’s also interesting to see how they are starting to market and position the Bloom boxes: as replacing the power grid. Here’s how 60 Minutes reports it:

The idea is to one day replace the big power plants and transmission line grid, the way the laptop moved in on the desktop and cell phones supplanted landlines.

Watch CBS News Videos Online

129 Comments

Byron

I don’t see my comment so I’ll try again. Maybe a different email address? Either that or I have to allow cookies (gotta placate the marketers).

The price tag for this behemoth, $700,000 to $800,000 is just completely ridiculous and greedy and out of line. What’s the point for most people if they are only being asked to switch from one expensive energy source to another even more expensive? It’s one of the reasons that alternatives like solar has not taken hold as it should have. The makers and installers got greedy.

From what I’ve read so far this is the only similar such alternative energy source that 60 Minutes discussed. Yet the is another which does not need any petroleum fuel input. Also I predict that this refrigerator sized unit will become what the station wagon is to the Prius.

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2005/08/0818_050818_urinebattery.html

Byron

The price tag for this behemoth, $700,000 to $800,000 is just completely ridiculous and greedy and out of line. What’s the point for most people if they are only being asked to switch from one expensive energy source to another even more expensive? It’s one of the reasons that alternatives like solar has not taken hold as it should have. The makers and installers got greedy. The Great American Downfalling.

From what I’ve read so far this is the only similar such alternative energy source that 60 Minutes discussed. Yet the is another which does not need any petroleum fuel input.

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2005/08/0818_050818_urinebattery.html

Jim

The idea of a fuel cell using natural gas is very interesting. It could provide a very efficient, quiet car producing much less pollution than any other fossil fuel.

Manila Calling!

Hello friends,

What we do not know is how much natural gas is used to produce the elctricity. It is true that we have natural gas in abundence but most of that is trapped in rock and the process to tap this energy is not pollution free. $$$ count if your a working person.

A oil buirner install for the average home is about $5,000.00. If the Bloom box is in that price range and we can obtain really inexpensive energy then it makes sense.

atpcliff

Hi!

It does not use natural gas. It CAN use natural gas, but it can also use a number of other energy inputs to work.

For example, if you have solar/wind power powering your house in the daytime, this fuel cell can convert the excess to hydrogen/oxygen. Then, at night, it can use the hydrogen/oxygen to make electricity and power your house at night.

It is way more efficient at making electricity than current means of making electricity. It produces about 50% of the emissions to make electricity than the current means of making electricity.

It can make electricity to power your house, or recharge your auto’s elec battery. If you have a hydrogen fuel cell auto, it can produce hydrogen to fill your tank.

It is made with ceramics and sand, and it doesn’t have the typical rare metals that most fuel cells use, so that’s why they are planning for them to be a lot cheaper than traditional fuel cells.

It can serve as a backup of electrical power for your house or business if the elec grid goes down. I could use one here, as the grid goes down numerous times in a typical week in our neighborhood.

cliff
NBO

Larry

Drag0nFire said on 2/22/2010…

I have to believe that if this technology worked, power companies would adopt it in large scale.

Not so. Large companies hate change. They’d rather continue with the current system no matter the savings. The excuses against change are initial cost, shareholders return, reworking infrastructure, retraining, possible better future tech and on and on.

Here’s a fine example in another energy consumption related industry, the airlines. They’re all crying for a new design that will save manufacturing costs, get better fuel economy, increase safety and save the airline industry from collapse.

There is a design that’s been available for almost 50 years that would reduce mfg costs by 50 to 70%, increase fuel economy by 50% and decrease fatalities in survivable crashes by 85%. What aircraft manufacturer or airline has embraced this? Not one. The same will be for this new tech. No large company really wants change unless it can be subsidized and/or absolutely guaranteed.

Check out the links for the plane design and see if you don’t agree. Got to http://www.burnelli.com or go to Google and type Burnelli.com .

Boeing claims they are going to build the BWB, which has half the advantages of Burnelli’s design, but the BWB is not even in their 20 year plan for any serious production. They’re only testing a model because they get money from the NASA budget and to get the attention for advertizing. Check comments in PopSci article http://www.popsci.com/scitech/article/2009-04/planes-trains-and-sueprsonic-spaceships . They have no intension to build the BWB.

The Magic “Bloom Box” is probably for real but will not have a significant impact for years to come until costs are more enticing, reliability is proven, political wheels are greased and, if it lives up to the claims, the public demands it. Otherwise, it will just become another coulda, shoulda, woulda breakthroughs in the footnotes of history.

Roux

I’d love to believe it’s true but hey it’s on SeeBS and that makes me doubt it from the start.

Don Prohaska

Bloom Energy’s SOFC is NOT superior to other Solid Oxide Fuel Cells in terms of cost cents per kWh power produced. It is being overhyped and oversold much like Ballard Power back in the 90’s when Ballard was valued at near $20 billion and today has a market cap of about $240 million.

Bloom Energy is being valued already at $1.45 billion — again, even though other SOFC devices are equally efficient and equally cheap. A Chinese scientist, for example, has a Low-Temperature SOFC that is superior to Bloom in terms of price/performance, degradation, and suitability for automotive applications.

Bloom’s primary advantage is that their Venture Capitalist backers did not do sufficient due diligence.

Manila Calling!

So it’s another lure to scam investors with?

Hail the perpetual motion machine!

Blake

Sure, right, they gave him $100 million and did no due diligence. Uh huh. Right!

Mark

Any time something new comes along we all have to be looking and listening and thinking and sometimes that doesn’t help. Example: “we are going to change this country” and no one was hearing what was being said and look what a pickle we are in now.
On the other hand what is the problem if this works ? At least give it a hard look and don’t always think everything is a scam. Example; I looked and listened to the “SCAM” about the Tankless water heater and after reading all I could,I contacted some of the happy campers and then bought one and then after seeing how well they work I along with tw friends bought the company. Had I closed my eyes and ears I would be throwing $30 a month away on my electric bill. Everything in life is not a scam and all people are not scammers and if there is someone out there with a better idea let us all take a look and digest it.

Bob

At a size of two 4’X4″ bloomboxs to power a home this looks interesting. But, unfortunately there was no information provided as to how much natural gas is needed to create 1 kilowatt of electricity so that one could determine the cost per kilowatt at today natural gas prices or what future demands would be created on natural gas resources ergo prices because of higher demand for natural gas due to bloomboxes.

I just don’t see the elimination of the electrical power grid as being wise at all. Who would want to trade the flexibility of the electric grid where power can be transfer easily from one point to another for a ridged gas line grid with no flexibility of transferring/sharing of electrical power from one point to another.

I think the electric grid will be needed more than ever as many natural sources for bio gases/methane also become natural power generation sources for less cost examples: municipal sewage and landfills, businesses such as dairy farms, chicken farms, farms and businesses in general that create large bio masses which can be transformed into bio gases thus electricity via Bloomboxes. This would allow them to sell electricity into the grid to offset their operating cost and help keep the costs of their products down and who know… generate a new revenue for themselves.

As a wise man once said… Don’t lock me in… Give me options, lots of options for you do know not what the future holds.

Adonis

The video mentioned that the bloom box requires half the gas that an equivalent combustion process requires.

dkd

Bob: I agree, keep the grid. But, let’s make it a 2-way grid everywhere. In some areas now you can sell power to the utility when you produce a surplus, and buy power when you are at a deficit. That ability promotes all sorts of options. . .

Steve

Fred
What is the invention that you have in your back yard. What process do you use to store hydrogen. From what i understand hydrogen has to be under a very high pressure.
Steve

fred

Steve Its a hydrogen gas generator patented in 1973 US patent number 3,761,221 Just type that number into any search engine (MSN works well) ant the patent will appear. It creates its own pressure which is less than 30 psi. Fred

fred

William and Steve

Since Hydrogen produced through the generator burns like natural gas only hotter, I use it to cook on a barbecue and to heat water for bathing etc. I also use it to produce electricity via a fuel cell similar to the Bloom box cell except that it uses exotic metals such as platinum which is a catalyst. The technology has been here for years its just that there has not been a big demand until 911.
In the 70’s, I rectified alternating current from the grid to produce hydrogen in the cell but bought and installed solar photovoltaics approximately 20 years ago.
Fred

truthsayer

It is a lighter he uses to spark up his joints (read the patent) because it is a cigarette lighter.

fred

think outside the box truthsayer the patent also says other applications the one I have is about 10,000 times the size of a cigarette lighter or stay in your box if you must.

Fred

Jeff

This is awesome indeed. I certainly hope that Bloom Energy is “for real” and not a bunch of hype. I certainly like what I read in this article:

http://ecogeek.org/component/content/article/3079

“Bloom Energy’s current product is a relatively inexpensive and versatile fuel cell that can power roughly 100 American homes. The devices cost $700,000 a piece an are roughly TWICE AS EFFICIENT AS NATURAL GAS POWER TRANSMITTED THROUGH THE GRID.”

TWICE as efficient as natural gas power transmitted through the grid sounds revolutionary to me! I just hope that Bloom Energy is torture testing the heck out of their Bloom boxes and they can make them ultra reliable and long lasting. Of course, the more inexpensive the better.

I think a $3,000 Bloom box in my house would be very do-able if you can also hook the house to the grid as a backup measure. The Bloom box is also going to need to have the capacity to “quick charge” the upcoming electric cars that are on the way. It would be awesome to be able to quick charge my Chevy Volt in just a few minutes someday. Even better would be putting a small Bloom box under the hood of my Chevy Volt as the range extender and yank out that old fashioned internal combustion engine!

This Bloom Energy box could be great if natural gas prices stay low. I hear that America is pretty rich when it comes to natural gas these days because there’s new methods of getting it out of the ground and there’s a bunch of places in Pennsylvania and New York where there’s at least 100 years worth of supply underground.

http://www.technologyreview.com/video/?vid=460

If Bloom Energy’s technology is ultra reliable and cheap it’s going to freak out the electric utilities for sure. But … that’s America. When better technology comes along, it’s “out with the old, in with the NEW”.

Man, I hope these Bloom boxes aren’t just hype and they really are revolutionary. We need some huge breakthroughs in the next 10 years. America needs another “next big thing” to come along to pull us out of this god awful recession that Wall Street caused.

wag6902

bill clinton and barney frank mandating that people who couldn’t afford homes be allowed to finances their purchases caused this god awful recession. your messiah, barry, cannot repeal the laws of physics or the business cycle. get used to it.

Joe P

Keep repeating it and more people will accept it as true. Nobody twisted the bankers arms.

truthsayer

YES. The government DID twist their arms to both lend and to sell the loans from Freddie and Fannie packaged as securities. They were given the backing of the Govt from the weiner Frank. Of course reality is not a strong suit of a liberal.

Scott

Listening to business rep. from Kliener, they clearly recognize that their device is part of the solution; not the solution alone. If one still looks to a future with solar cells and windmills providing significant portions of power to the system on net, you still need an alternative mechanism to handle demand spkikes and wind/sun down circumstances. Using a traditional power plant or Nuclear for load infill is inefficient because to truely be ready-on-denamd for demand spikes they would have to be idling. It would seem laymen logical that a fuel cell wouldn’t have that issue. I have a solar array on my roof and a windterra as well, but as much as I diminish my use of grid electricty I have not eliminated it because I know, and have experienced, that there will be spells where I can’t rely on them for all my power. Add a fuel cell and those spells will be more easily coped with. For me the real question is can the box work in reverse…or someday soon. If it can then pairing a bloom box with alternative power might mean that you can create/capture fuel gases when your wind/solar are over producing and save that for when they are under producing.

DC

Well conceived Scott! And yes, to answer your question – extra solar and wind power could be used to electrolyze water to get the hydrogen (and oxygen too!) needed to power the fuel cell.

In the best case scenario, you’d be using solar and wind to create your hydrogen in the first place, so the back up strategy is just a matter of your wind and solar being sized aggressively enough to produce extra hydrogen for use when the sun isn’t shining and the wind isn’t blowing.

fred

The Bloom Box uses hydrogen and oxygen to produce electricity. Both elements are abundant in water or H2O. Water is separated to its elements through electrolysis. Photocells or solar cells can be used to “crack” water into its elements. The elements (hydrogen and Oxygen) can be stored and used in the bloom box day or night to produce electricity. Patent # US 3,761,221 is an invention patented in 1973 that cracks and stores hydrogen for this purpose. It was invented for this purpose. I have one in my back yard that I installed in 1974. It has run flawlessly for 36 years. It will take about 20 years for the rest of the world to catch up. I was 27 years old when I installed the system at my house. In 20 years I will be 82 or 83 years old. See you then. Fred

sm

happy to know that google is using it.
hope they will be able to reduce the market price so small scale industries and units can use this.
Great Potential

Wsop

Please take a look at Ceramic Fuel cells. an Australian company close to full scale commercialisation in the industrial and home markets

They seem to be far ahead of Bloom.

Thomas- in - Newport

Good! Competition breeds lower cost. If we can get 2 or 3 companies in the US building similar equipment they will have to improve their systems and keep the price low to sell the product. If it is from another country then we would still have to keep cost and quality high. I can see this product being used in large apartment buildings. Would it mount on the roof and use solar or would it have to be in the basement? How about college dorms and class buildings? How about federal buildings so they can be “energy independent” in case of an attack on the grid. Those sources using the product first would bring down the cost for home use.

Thomas- in - Newport

PS: reads (“If it is from another country then we would still have to keep cost and quality high.”) should read (“If it is from another country then we would still have to keep cost low and quality high.”)

Thanks.

Conan

I’m with Bobby on this – attitude on global warming not withstanding (Bobby, I really hope you’re kidding about the glaciers, lol).

I don’t think this will ever fly on a residential level, no matter how small they succeed in making it. Unless you are a large company, I don’t see the appeal or advantage in owning one of these devices. Why would I pay a handsome out of pocket price to trade in my already high electric bill for much higher natural gas bill? (Is natural gas that much cheaper?) Or for losing valuable garage/basement real-estate to a large cumbersome device which will undoubtedly require an expensive maintenance plan?

The only way that I could see this any making sense residentialy is if it ran on munincipal sewer-gas or if it had some sort of integrated waste-digestion facilty that would allow it to convert household poop into electricity. This would of course add considerably to the already mammoth footprint of the device and would require all sorts of updates to my existing plumbing system. Not to mention heath and building department hassles and god only knows what other sorts of bureaucratic nonsense.

Whereas if munincipal waste-treatment plants purchased these things, they could sell the power that they generated from all that poop to the utility companies. There’s an idea that is definitely doable.

Steve

On the 60 minutes segment, they specifically indicated that the Bloom Box could use a fuel source like solar. It doesn’t have to be natural gas.

Furthermore, it was said that the residential models would cost less than $3000 US. At those prices, I would buy one instantly.

Don’t forget that it is an economic fuel cell that is the most important component in achieving a grid free life. Once the fuel cell is out there, I guarantee there will be plenty of “hackers” that figure out how to pump in a variety of fuels.

Tom

I heard the same thing “it could use solar”

I don’t know what that means. Solar power is not a stream of hydrogen atoms, it is light. A fuel cell requires hydrogen (in whatever form- natural gas, gasoline, pure hydrogen, etc) to function. Now to turn Solar into hydrogen one needs either a chemical reaction (hydrolysis), or a more direct reaction that frees hydrogen. Assuming you use one of these forms all one has done is dramatically lower the efficiency of the solar PV panels one more step. I hate it when “clean” tries to be simplified to a buzz word. “Yes we do solar”

notatechi

It can use solar. Kinda sending electromagnetic waves through the cells and the cells extract the power. Sorta like that. But that would work. I still like using waste like methane as a better option, because it reduces green house gases further and reduces waste in landfills.

Sam

@Tom,

Actually, the purpose of the solar would be akin to the gases being used. They are used to separate the hydrogen from the oxygen in H2O, for details, wikipedia. To do this, the water molecules must pass through an electric current, which solar energy could provide.

dlooshnl

he is using fuel and oxygen.. so sweet…now if we could just all stop breathing in the next 100 years we will be good to go

Bobby

So our natural gas demand will triple and Demand drives up cost. The end result will be the Big companies will make more $$ off our Dumb asses and we will have a big jiffy-popper looking contraption in our garage. The Big companies won’t have as much infrastructure to maintain,,,you will in your garage.

They Didn’t leave me any Buffalo……I’m not leaving any Glaciers.
Bobby

wave_man

Hmmm. Your math could use a little work. If everyone is using X carbon now, and it is almost all from coal and natural gas, and some people start generating power twice as efficiently with local use of natural gas, they will be using 1/2X the carbon or less. Do you think everyone is actually going to do this? Probably not in the next five years. Look at the history of adoption for solar and wind. The impact on natural gas supply will be at least initially, negligible. If you are arguing that you are sad to have to give up good old coal, I am not commiserating.

notatechi

If you can really get one for under $5000 (i know he said $3,000), than yea definitely people will buy it. The only issue is what type of fuel is best to use. You can actually make your own fuel at home. there are already cheap devices that allow you to turn common household waste into methane gas, which could be used to fuel this device.

The other issue I see it when your not using it, it still has to create energy? Could we just battery the power somehow? Are will these fuel cells hold charge? They kinda dont seem like they will because of how they are made to create energy and not hold it. That is a huge issue with cheap efficient fuel cell technology for powering houses or cars. They have to be batteries and power plants, otherwise the efficiency diminishes because its always running.
Im pretty sure they said this devices runs 100% of the time.

Hmmm...

Has anyone thought to ask how such a device would create Oxygen? I know that there are Oxygen Scrubbers that use electricity to separate Oxygen from CO2, but I have never heard of a device that uses electricity to simply ‘create’ Oxygen. Also, I keep hearing the term ‘reverse-engineering’ in relation to a device intended for the Mars mission, which is a misnomer according to what I saw on 60 minutes. The man said he ‘reversed’ the device, instead of using electricty to create Oxygen he fed it Oxygen (and fuel, which was never explained, nor was it explained that fuel cells are not new technology) and that the device produced electricity.

There is bound to be at least a few chemistry/physics students who are scratching their head over the information provided today regarding the Bloom Box.

wave_man

See Wikipedia:electrolysis.

The fuel cell uses a direct current to split water into component hydrogen and oxygen. The SOFC is particularly cool, because unlike its cousin PEM, the oxygen ion moves through the electrolyte, not the proton from the H2. Soooo, the anode of the electrolysis cell is fed water, the hydrogen is evolved and saved on the anode side of the cell, the oxygen is evolved on the cathode side. Hope this makes sense.

Bob

Ok Engineers and Chemists out there, Lets put some numbers together. As I saw it, the box that can power an average US house (900 Kwhr per month) was half a foot on a side or 1/8 of a cubic foot. That gives 7200Kwhr/cubic foot per month. This is aout 10 times the best alternate fuel cell that I can find a reference to. Obviously there is something good going on, but I think it was wildly overstated.

Next, the simple amumina hybrid plate, and thick film ink limits surface area to 64 plates times 36 sq inches or 232 square centimeters which gives 900/64/232 or 60 wh/cc. This is about 20 times the best available technology for hydrogen or methane cells. Same conclusion.

Jim

You missed the first part of the intrview. He said it would take two boxes to power the average US home

wave_man

I think your competitive technology numbers must be wildly lame. Get your calculator out again… They are good, but mainly in that they are doing it<b>.

Jake

Natural gas powered co-generation plants have been made by other companies, perhaps the bloom box has a lower hear byproduct.

If the bloom box could be miniaturized to produce 50 kw from under a car hood, you might have the all time low net pollution champ.

My unscientific exposure to alternate car has led me to believe that natural gas fuel cell cars would have a higher net efficiency than hydrogen fuel cells, which including the natural gas powered hydrogen plant losses have a 36% energy utilization efficiency.
While eliminating that energy conversion stage would give a natural gas fuel cell car closer to 60% net efficiency. You don’t get get the hydrogen car’s cool water vapor exhaust, but the natural gas car’ emissions are lower than the hydrogen production plant would produce.

wave_man

I worked in fuel cell cars for over five years in the late ’90s through the turn of the century. I am not saying it is a bad idea, but I would personally prefer to see my countrymen in pure electric battery EVs with the electricity generated by a Bloom Box or something as efficient. Fuel cells are a real pain in the butt to cram into a passenger car (buses, trains, etc. are great). Reliability and cost point and robust power response are all issues still not addressed by any car company.

Editor-in-Chief

Honda’s CNG vehicle, the Civic GX, has been dubbed the “greenest car in America,” by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy and other environmentally conscious groups. The GX became a cause célèbre for many alternative fuel devotees because it held out the prospect of true energy independence by detaching from the gas station umbilical cord. Not only does the GX achieve good equivalent mileage of approximately 24 MPG with a range up to 220 miles, the vehicle uses no gasoline, just common household natural gas. Most importantly, the GX was designed to work with a compact home refueling unit called the Phill, made by a company called Fuelmaker. The home refueling device after tax credits would only cost a few thousand dollars and pay for itself as the user weaned off oil. The dynamic benefit of the Honda GX was a non-oil consuming vehicle that could connect to a supply line as easily as any home grill or any other gas appliance.

But then a clear and present solution to oil dependence suddenly began to go bad
http://www.theautochannel.com/news/2008/09/29/139649.html

Hmmm...

Burning ANYTHING produces emissions, despite anything that Al Gore says to the contrary. I would certainly like to see the explanation of how burning any currently existing biofuel results in zero carbon emissions.

wave_man

Here’s how that works “Hmmm…”:
If you produce the same energy with less fuel input (that is what we call “higher efficiency”), less fuel in means less carbon out. The Bloom Box produces the power locally, which eliminates transmission losses as well.

Soooo, less carbon per kW-h. Ta-daaa!

wave_man

BTW, who said anything about burning?
Go to Wikipedia and try electrochemical reaction, or something like that if you want to understand how a fuel cell works. Not a combustion device, short answer.

Thatcher Ulrich

Simple explanation of zero emissions biofuel: if you burn wood in your fireplace, the net carbon emission is zero. Obviously, CO2 goes up your chimney when you burn the wood, but the same carbon was pulled out of the atmosphere when the tree was growing, so the net carbon emission is zero. Same for ethanol distilled from corn, biodiesel from vegetable oil, etc. Obviously there are tailpipe emissions, but the carbon that went into the fuel came from the atmosphere in recent history so the net contribution to atmospheric CO2 is zero.

notatechi

Your answer about Zero Carbon emissions is wrong. Even though you are right that you cannot put back in more than was taken out, it is the rate at which it is put back that is the issue. This is basically where Global Warming theory comes from. So it takes hundreds of thousands of years to make very small changes to the atmosphere and people excelerate this process by dumping huge amount of carbon dioxide and other gasses into the atmosphere. It alters the state that the atmosphere is in by changing the order it is made up in. Our atmosphere is not primarily Carbon dioxide and the more of it we put up there at an excelerated rate the quicker it eats away at the other stuff up there.
Zero Carbon emissions = in theory, eventually everything will return to normal because there is the same amount of everything in the same state

Ha, good luck!

Bascially a Zero carbon emissions is reasonable if you are not burning anything which this is not and you are using a waste product like methane from a landfill (which helps solve another problem). Methane is another gas we do not want to release into the atmosphere. The real idea here is use waste and garbage to create our energy without burning it. Easier said than done, but we are getting there and the Bloom energy technology is a step closer.

This is also better than solar or wind because it solve a waste problem as well.

Pamela

I don’t get it. What am I missing? It still has to use some sort of fuel to operate. I thought I heard “no emissions” being tossed around. Fuel=emissions. I’m trying figure out what’s is great about it?

wave_man

No emissions would be a stretch, truly. It reduces emissions of carbon by 60% by generating the power more efficiently (electrochemical reactions are much more efficient than combustion to shaft to electrical generation techniques). If you use a green fuel source of course the benefits would be greater.

Jim

Pamela, you’re correct. The Bloom Box does emit carbon dioxide as a byproduct of its electricity generation process. Despite the promise that this device otherwise has, overcoming the carbon dioxide emissions may prove to be Bloom Energy’s biggest challenge, particularly coming at a moment in time when the world is becoming increasingly concerned with global warming.

Peter

Jim,
“…coming at a moment in time when the world is becoming increasingly concerned with global warming”?
Apparently you have not seen the growing evidence that man-made global warming is a scam. A lot of people have heard the news and are becoming less concerned with global warming.

newscaper

LOL!
Guess you haven’t been paying attention to CLimateGate and the various retractions and resignations now becoming a steady stream from AGW proponents.
Of cours you’d have to be reading the UK press to know anything about it since the US press is doing its best to ignore it, even though liberal papers like the Guardian are digging into it.

Sam

The key is in the type of fuel source used. By using land-fill gas, it becomes a carbon-neutral energy generator, producing just as much carbon as would’ve come out had that gas been exposed to the climate. It also has the potential to use solar energy, which would render it carbon-free.

john

Nano solar has had a cheep way to make solar panels for 2 or 3 years now but was probably crushed by the corporate structure that makes money of the now existing energy. They may let this one through because it needs natural gas and they can always raise the price of natural gas sky high after they sell the boxes

Dan

Last I heard Nano was in full production & opening a new plant in Germany (or somewhere). Most of their product is being sold to corporations & customers. Their biggest problems is meeting demand not being squashed underfoot by big energy. Of course that was awhile back. Things may have changed for the worse since…

Bob

Actually, Nano Solar has a contract with a German energy concern that bought several years of Nano Solar current production.

azeem

No but seriously, looks awesome. Distributed power generation has to be the way to go. National grids so expensive to maintain and leaky at the best.
GOOG must be a tough customer. I want a desktop one ;)

Karl Long

wow, the fact that google has been using them for 18 months is huge. I love that it was reverse engineered from the failed mars mission.

magnum

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/9uG6Is

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