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Is Bloom Energy’s Fuel Cell Miracle For Real?

| Saturday February 20th, 2010 | 158 Comments

UPDATE 3: click here to read our thoughts on the hype – even if Bloom isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, they’ve set something good in motion

UPDATE 2: click here to read our breaking report from Wednesday’s standing room only press briefing on the Bloom Box

UPDATE: We’re still short on the real details (stay tuned till Wednesday to find those out), but scroll down to the bottom to watch the 60 minutes clip which gives a decent introduction. Leave a comment if there’s something specific you want asked.

The interwebs are aflutter with excitement over Bloom Energy’s top secret “Bloom Box” fuel cell system finally revealing itself. For those who haven’t already checked it out (the website is still just a marquee), the company boasts that their systems could literally replace the electricity grid with dispersed, clean, and easy to maintain fuel cell boxes running on a variety of fuels, water, and oxygen, with no combustion at all. Sound like hype? Their PR team has certainly been working in overdrive…

The scoop has been leaking for a day now on the CBS website, and on others including Fortune and GreenTechMedia. However, Sunday night will be your first chance to hear real details about the Bloom Box when 60 Minutes airs a segment that with either knock your socks off, raise a lot of eyebrows, or both.

Bloom has already listed almost two dozen large companies who have been stealth testers of the mysterious device including eBay, who claim to have already saved $100,000 and such perennial sustainability favorites as Google and WalMart.

Exactly how it works is among the surprises we’re supposed to get on Sunday. (edit – looks like we’re waiting till Wednesday) Hank Green suggests 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.

Why is this a big deal? How do they differ from existing fuel cell backup systems already in place? Has the internet been duped by one of the more successful publicity campaigns in recent memory? It’s all TBA in the next few days…

Check out 60 Minutes on Sunday night for the sneak preview, then leave your questions here. On Wednesday morning, 3p’s Jim Witkin will attend the official unveiling in San Jose along with General Colin Powell, Arnold Schwarzenegger, big shots from Kleiner Perkins and more. We’ll be able to ask some key questions and will publish the juicy details as soon as we’ve got ‘em.



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  • http://twitter.com/Winafish Remy Chevalier

    They used to be called IonAmerica… read here:
    http://www.siliconbeat.com/entries/2006/08/04/s

    • sherylroycer

      Actually this could be a bigger deal than producing electricity.

      The problem with renewable energy is that it there is no cheap way to store electricity.

      You get about 1000 charge cycles for current Li-Ion batteries, which cost about $1000/kwh of capacity.

      Thus the charging cost is $1/KWh for a battery, much greater than the cost of the electricity which is about $0.10/KWh.

      This is why Electric cars / plug-in hybrids / hybrids are not viable until a technology break through increases the charge cycles and/or reduces the cost of batteries. Same goes for off-grid home solar installations which use batteries for storage.

      They should give a $1B X-Prize for whomever develops a electricity storage technology which gets you below 3 cents / kwh charge.

      Now if the BloomBox can produce a fuel with electricity it might be able to achieve this goal, but it would depend on the efficiency, cost, and the number of cycles the device can handle before replacement.

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

      • MarkBC

        Nissan is apparently making its batteries for about $400 / kWh, and will soon be below your 3 c / kWh. Within five years they will have batteries with twice the range per weight.

        The minor limitations of EV's are almost solved now, but they haven't even come out yet. The problems with fuel cell cars are still decades away from being solved, if ever, if they have to face competition with increasingly attractive EV's.

      • gmiles

        nano-tube capacitors will solve electric storage problems in the near future….nano-tube capacitors will be cheap to manufacture and will have almost unlimited charge cycles…. because it is not a chemical storage it is an actual in space storage of electrons.

      • gmiles

        also…. we can make hydrogen or methane from water and CO where the CO is produced from concentrated Solar Power that breaks apart CO2 -> CO + O

      • some dude

        I am concerned about replacement too.

        If I came up with something that I could put a drop of water in and it would run my house for a day…sweet…But, if it came in size semi-truck and burnt out in a week I would not be that interested.

        I am still trying to figure out if this is like a generator/capacitor or an on-demand system. If it is on demand, and it makes heat, the day the wrong guy turns his computer off it blows up awhile later. 120gal on startup, so it needs water, but is it as a cooling system? Does it ever need more?

        We have more questions than answers.

      • jimmy

        No need to store; the law requires the “Grid” to buy excess. Mute point. I would let it run all day every day. When you are sleeping or not home sucking up the heat or ac your machine is making some money for you.

        The bigger the unit you buy the more you make.

  • http://yrihf.com/ jabailo

    Why is this such a big deal? Fuel Cell Energy (FCEL) has been building, selling and installing these types of fuel cells for years. They installed one here in King County near Seattle that ran on waste gas from sewage. They install them in hospitals all the time as back up generators…they run on natural gas.

    • Jarden

      The big deal is the “Bloom Box” is supposedly doing the same thing but at nearly 30% the current efficiency level of other Fuel Cell patents out there. At that level, it would be a real sustainable energy source, and not a “gimmick”. As said, Fuel Cells have been around for years, but cost more to run pound for pound than other options. Think of a Fuel Cell as really just an expensive battery and you'll get the idea. But like Li-Ion batteries, everyone has been producing them for years, but not at an energy density/cost ratio that made them mass marketable. Not until just recently has Li-Ion reached a critical turning point and become the next big thing for power usage (GM owns the company and patents BTW)
      If this new fuel cell is as efficient as they say, you can start seeing natural gas powered cars with Li-Ion packs that would be capable of over 100 mpg (and that's conservative, Some estimates go into the 300 mpg range) And stationary units to power homes and charge your car. Or more interestingly, a car that helps power your home when it's home and plugged in…

      • wk

        You mean hydrogen powered cars. Anyway to produce hydrogen fuel, you still need electricity from oil,coal and naturral gas. What about diesel cars, last i heard 80 mpg, claim they will go over 100 mpg this year. For Ford profits t's their clean diesel engine manufactured ams sold in Europe, but obama doesn't want to save us money at the pump, and with diesel filters it's cleaner than any emissin in US. But policy is driven by special interest, you need platnium to produce hydrogen fuel, guess who owns it, Bill gates, Waren Buffet and other riches, They bought it all and are not going to sell it cheap, The lithium battery you talk about is still 2 years away from production, and the technology for fuel cell cars is not here yet. Thank for your hope.

        • Dave

          No, not hydrogen fueled. It can run on natural gas or many other bio-fuels. That and good conversion effeciency is the key to producing low-cost electricity.

        • John

          Since Bloom apparently does not require pure hydrogen, but just apparently the oxygen in air and the hydrogen from the methane gas, you are off base. If this product can use air and methane, it would be practical to install LNG tanks in vehicles and eliminate the need for pure hydrogen or expensive heavy batteries (that have relatively short lives and that there have been no recycle plans developed to handle) perhaps we can avoid the danger that lithium and other such metals present when they are disposed of today.

        • some dude

          I kinda have to agree on the special interests inhibiting the distribution of cheap energy…it doesn't benefit any of them to let us have any real control over our own energy needs. However, that they are trying to do this on the sneak is heartening…imho the only way something like this…if it works as stated… is to be sneaky and get some big industry that requires cheap energy behind it…which they seem to be doing.
          I mean, can you IMAGINE how much juice it takes to run the Google and MS server farms? I am not surprised they were happy to get in.

          That said, there is the matter of credibility. Green fuel has never gained much largescale credibility and acceptance before now. There was a quote unquote crazy British guy who made a simple methane carburator adapter for any ICE vehicle. And also would explain to buyers how to make your own cheap methane generator in your garage. He died penniless and ridiculed. About the only thing anyone agreed on was that the thing actually worked…but the guy was nuts to use it when you got handy gas pumps.

          We can make ethanol fuel out of any biomass (read grass clippings or any plant waste material with cellulose in it…corn husks), deisel out of any waste oil products, and nuclear power plants. But, I do not see anyone using them too seriously yet. There are exceptions and I can see it slowly changing…please do not fry me. And FYI the original patent for the deisel engine ran on peanut oil…irrc pre 1900.

          Bear in mind also…I am not as much an environmental advocate as someone who likes cheap gas and energy. I live in Las Vegas, Nevada and LOVE the idea of Yucca Mtn and hope Harry Reid has to flip burgers after the next election. We have Hoover Dam…and we run on coal and methane…but mostly coal.

          Have a nice day =)

        • MarkBC

          The low efficiency and size of a natural gas powered fuel cell make it impractical for regular vehicle applications.

        • Larry A

          Large interests groups are interested in making money. If they have an opportunity to duplicate the process it will not take any time for them to replicate and over take the industry. They are smart enough to buy in at the right time. In the mean time they can let others invest in the discovery process. This is not a case where one company will control the whole industry.

          The thing I don't see in any of these commnets is what about the saivngs of no wires running from hundreds of miles away to our homes. What about the cost of those wires and their maintenance and the loss of manpower on just getting them up and running. The cost of piping natural gas to a home is peanuts compared to running electricity and keeping it going. How about the reliability of gas piped or stored versus electricity which easily fails hundreds of thousands every year because of storms.

          My first car had a reliable straight six cylinder engine and got terrific mileage for its time, 22 mpg. Today I drive a hybrid and get over 43 mpg. We get the kind of technology we insist on. We want to carry computers in our pocket, voila. We want games and movies that create imagery that looks real but isn't and all we have to do is put on 3D glasses and pay an extra few bucks. Anyone who thinks this is not likely just does not understand how much we want it.

        • http://www.bloomdaily.com/ Bud Smith

          wk, that's the point: You can also produce hydrogen fuel from renewable energy, with the Bloom Box, after it's reconfigured. You use the electricity from solar energy or wind power to produce hydrogen, then burn it. Completely green. (Yes, it's most efficient to use the electricity directly as it's produced; but if it's “excess”, then making hydrogen is a great use of it.)

          Sadly, Sridar says that this works, has been tested, but is uneconomic today. He calls it the “killer app” but says it will be ten years until the cost-benefit makes sense. I wish there were some trials of this going on, as there are for the current Bloom Box.

          http://www.bloomdaily.com

        • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/GGFBWHDHFCZ45MPUAUT23VZEE4 Jimmy

          Produce your own hydrogen. Use water and separate the H20 molecule simply; use solar power. If you use grey water it will separate and leave the contaminates so water treatment plants can use the power to sell ot the Grid and have only a small amount of contamination to dispose of.

          Look it up . Electrolysis, grey water; on a good search engine.

      • richie

        how will salt air effect the filters since there was where problems with road dust?

        • madtech

          Guys,

          The Bloom cell doesn't use platinum, either. The per/cell cost is SIGNIFICANTLY lower than traditional cells. If he can make the numbers work, good for him.

    • frdwrght742

      This Aussie company has had a commercial small-scale product for over a year! ..is called BlueGen – http://www.cfcl.com.au/BlueGen/ – is a grid-parallel SOFC system that operates on natural gas producing highly efficiency electricity. Output: up to 2 kW power export (enough for 2 average houses). Efficiency: up to 60% electrical efficiency (net AC export). Modular installation; can be configured as: mono-generation (power only) or co-generation (power+heat).

    • gmiles

      The reason this is revolutionary… is this Fuel Cell Technology does not use precious rare earth metals that do not exist in a high enough amount in the world to allow Fuel Cells to go into mass production….. plus the fact that rare earth metals are very expensive because they are rare…..

      • http://yrihf.com/ jabailo

        All FC manufacturers have been trying to get away from rare metals, however, Nocera released his method of using low cost cobolt oxides more than a year ago and any manufacturer can use this. In reading the research, others are discovering same, so it would not be too hard for FCEL to buy/absorb and apply some of the same technologies as Bloom has…plus they have a market already having deployed nearly 100 fuel cells.

  • http://yrihf.com/ jabailo

    Thanks! You're the first person to tell me what's unique about the Bloom Box versus a standard fuel cell.

    I'm a long time H2 and fuel cell supporter for cars and homes.

  • http://nickpalmer.blogspot.com/ Nick Palmer

    This must just be hype. A company like Ceramic fuel cells limited of Australia are already selling their natural gas run devices. They get 60% electrical efficiency, plus some of the waste heat is captured giving a total of 85% efficiency – they're about the size of a dishwasher.

    Nick Palmer
    Sustainability and stuff according to Nick Palmer

  • http://www.techstaffingpros.com/ Bruce Bille

    What is the cost per kilowatt? Does the Bloom Box set a new standard?

    • nickaster

      Supposedly we find out tonight on 60min – if not Wednesday morning.

    • http://www.mgt.unm.edu/ Simon Phoenix

      Yes, total new standard. The idea is that needs a small input and outputs a significant larger amount. The reason this is considered the Holy Grail is because this IS the step inbetween complete fossil fuel energy (which is where we are now, or pretty close to complete fossil fuel use ) AND the complete of renewable energy (solar, wind, hydrogen, STAR TREK, etc.) The Natural Gas companies are ECSTATIC to use these cells. It is a two step plan where all of the transformers or step down stations will be changed to BloomEnergy Servers, so right there it will use about 30% of the energy to start the chemical reaction that is uses now and then pump into homes where there will be another BloomEnergy Homebox, which will drastically lower the amount of energy pumped into the gride as a hole AND produce some 80% less Carbon Dioxide that we currently use. Add, a solar panel or two and you cut down your energy use EVEN more. (MHO, do not get a solar panel too expensive at the moment compared to cost.. anyways.) Eventually, he wants to re-tool the home units output some sort of Hydrogen that can be used to power the Hydrogen Car (assuming we stabalize the hydrogen fuel cell a little better.)
      Also… the major HUGE plants that use alot of coal inputs and thus create waste etc, (Intel, General Mills, etc. ) will use the natural gas input but then the home users can also use BioFuel as an input and become completely carbon nuetral. Wal-Mart issued a challange to themselves to invest/create a more effeceint deisel engine so as to get a mere 2 – 3 more miles per gallon which would save them about 300 Million year in the United States. If they get this cell working right… Wal-Mart will put it into all of the desiel trucks and really save money, which gets passed to us. That is why this is the Holy Grail of this because it doesn't completely replace all the oil douche bags or crazy, cut your head off for Allah and go to heaven to get 72 ugly, used up virgens but slowly fades them out, and reduces emmissions and provides a viable, more efficient and cheap alternative energy. The final place of creation of energy is also at the consumption piont which gives ALOT of power into the hands of the consumer and out of the government.

      ANY WAYS…. THIS ROCKS ..!

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/XSLI4QXHE2WQBVOMFOZWBF33VE Wallace Brand

      No.  Its cost is $7,000 per kW, 7 times as high as coal generation. and three times as much as FCE’s molten carbonate fuel cell.  However VERSA Power, that Fuel Cell Energy owns 43% of, has been participating in a $1 billion DOE cost reduction program and now estimates it can make the same solid oxide fuel cells in volume for $700 per kW, with estimates checked by the Bureau of the Budget.

  • mrbobf

    Show me the numbers…
    Cost.
    Average output (KWH, BTU's)
    Power requirements… (this thing will require some power to operate)..
    Efficiency…
    Safety…
    Life expectancy…
    As with sticking a windmill in your backyard, most of these “clean energy” sources are expensive and inefficient and will never pay for themselves without government subsides…
    So… unless these folks can produce power at a fraction of the $0.13/kwh I'm now paying and the always changing natural gas rates…
    I'll wait for the others to conclude their beta testing…
    The premise sounds great, but I'll stay on the grid for a while…

    • some dude

      Don't forget how much it costs to dispose of them once they go bad, even if there is no obvious contminant in them…they will still take up space in landfill. Like CRT monitors…I love my LCDs…but we made ALOT of CRT monitors…and where do they go now? That is solid waste measured in acre-feet, not cubic feet. And things break…entropy is like taxes. Recycling programs are great, but imho in their infancy as far as efficiency.

      • Anon

        Tech trash is gobbled up by China which then uses scavengers to extract precious metals and basically burns up the rest.

        • some dude

          Ok then, let's just let China deal with it.
          BTW if I was hungry enough, I would eat a dolphin. I might even name it and play with it first.

          Let China deal with it? China is us too. If I lived in Taiwan, and I am sure some folks do who look at this, I would be a little miffed. And if I lived in China, I would put the recycling plant on the Taiwan border and blow the runoff on them, we all gotta live here though. Just because you can't see the trash doesn't mean it's gone. I am not for suing all the people that made junk we need to deal with now in the first place either, we all liked it and played with it til we tossed it out. I am for not making new junk to take up space because I do not think we have to if we think hard enough.

          I am also sure China is trying their hardest to get 100% recovery on the “recycling” process they use. They burn everything not valuable left over you say? That isn't my thing, I will let the CO2 freaks eat you.

      • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/GGFBWHDHFCZ45MPUAUT23VZEE4 Jimmy

        Everything in Bloom-box is recycleable

    • M K

      Ditto on the above questions. Can someone point me
      to some papers on this technology?

      The biggest boost for this method would be if it could
      be scaled up to megawatt levels and demonstrate that it
      can truly convert natural gas to AC electrical power
      more efficiently than conventional gas turbines + generators.

      • Alejandro

        I don't really know how it works. But all Fuel cell energy comes in DC, so you need an inverter to turn it into AC. It's really hard and expensive to make an inverter that could withstand MegaWatts (Wind energy uses around 2.5 MW converters and there is research going on to make a 5MW). 100kW as they say in their DataSheet is a more manageable power. Plus a normal inverter has energy quality problems (need harmonic filters and much more in order to make a sinwave…) for this reasons and some others (system stability, Demand and capacity, price) I don't think this power source will be taking “The Grid” out of the game in the near future.
        Also, their data sheet says it uses 0.661 MMBTU/hr for an output of 100kW which means around 50% efficiency, this is less than what a normal Gas powered plant with combined cycle would give. Last but not least the price is $800,000. This would make the unitary price per watt in 8 [$/Watt] plus the cost of the used gas, this is much more expensive than wind (3 [$/W]), solar (5 [$/W]) and of course the non-renewable power sources (1 [$/W]).

        Datasheet link:
        http://c0688662.cdn.cloudfiles.rackspacecloud.c

        • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/GGFBWHDHFCZ45MPUAUT23VZEE4 Jimmy

          You really need to do your home work. You are way out of wack. Honda has a set-up for your home and car using natural gas and has a published savings of 50% on home electricity after the calculations for gas are included.

          Look it up under: Honda dare to dream

      • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/GGFBWHDHFCZ45MPUAUT23VZEE4 Jimmy

        This funny to me. Used to work for UTC. Pratt (a subsid.) sells jet turbines, Carrier Also a sub,sells heat pumps and ac's, etc. Pratt made fuel cells in 1960's for space etc. I tried very hard to get them to mass produce them for homes and cars. They would brag to customers they had units to power 100 or more homes. I personally tried to buyt one 8 years ago becau8se my neighborhood has underground utilities. They laughed. They just made one for a submarine. Have one for a bus.

        There is nothing in a fuel cell that will be an obsticle to mass production within 6 nmonths. All the machinery and production systems have been invented. I have been waiting for this since the 1970's when Jimmy Carter was looking for ways to address the OPEC embargo. Pratt sold one to an electric company; that was the extent.President Reagan flushed all the energy projects when he became president.

    • PAFI

      There is a data sheet on their web site. If you believe them, then it is 0.661 MMBTu/ hour for 100 kW electric power output.

    • pitcrew79

      do your own homework! Lazy?

      Trying to keep status quo?

      Have lots of stock in OIL. Since they robbed us for so long and enjoy it, be loyal to them?

      Find a new stock.

  • bjedziniak

    So… Why should it be so out of reach for the average person.Let us come down to earth and utililize this for the people that could honestly benefit from all this..

    • Dave

      On 60 minutes, it said they are currently producing 1 unit a day with a price of $500-800K each for big companies. They hope to get the cost of a home unit down to $3K in the next 5 years. Getting the production costs down will be key to making it useful to the average person.

      • http://www.market-intel.com/ bob

        The unit spec'd on their website is 100kW, presumably the $500-800k model(?) mentioned here.
        If so, then $5-8 per watt is about the same as installed cost of residential rooftop solar electric today (incl grid interconnects).
        What is the installed cost? How efficient is the conversion of methane / nat gas to electricity. How efficient is heat recovery?

  • ronblock

    Can a person invest in stock in this company, at this time? If not how soon?

  • Tripp

    Hype. This is an incremental improvement at best. Are we really so desperate we will believe anything?

  • Ulysses

    The inventor is a former NASA engineer so he should know his stuff. We can't go on killing the planet with hydrocarbon fuel. I am sure fossil fuel engines were very inefficient when they were invented. We either change the way we consume resourses or we become extinct.
    I think the company should sell a unit at cost to everyone who invests $10,000 or more.

    • Killa B

      Fossil fuel engines remain fairly inefficient, averaging about 18-20% efficiency. Consider that the Model-T Ford, first produced in 1908, averaged 13 – 21mpg, and that the average passenger car in 2008 got about 22.5 mpg. While no one can deny the importance of the ICE in transportation, we certainly haven't made very significant increases in its efficiency, despite 100 years of R&D.

      • guest

        “Ethanol is the fuel of the future” – Who said it?……………………Henry Ford. The Model T was first designed to use it, not petroleum. He sold out to the energy mofo's. The Model T was also largely made from hemp. Go figure

        • PrahaPartizan

          You forget that gasoline took over as the preferred fuel for transportation in the 1890s and 1900s because it was produced as a waste by-product of the preferred product of the petroleum industry, kerosene, for lighting. That's why the first oil wells were drilled anyway. The US needed a replacement for whale oil for lamps in the hinterland. Once we started making lots of kerosene, the oil companies found they had lots of lighter petrochem fractions on their hands, which they combined to produce a product called gasoline. Since it was a waste product, they initially offered it dirt cheap, which ultimately made it the fuel of choice for the engines being developed.

      • richardcownie

        On the contrary, there have been huge improvements in ICE efficiency, particularly over
        the last 30 years – closed-loop engine-control systems with an O2 sensor on the exhaust,
        together with electronic fuel injection, allows you to get the air/fuel mix right under varying
        conditions; improvements in materials allow higher operating temperatures, we have
        synthetic oils, variable valve timing .. and in the next five years we'll see even better tricks
        like infinitely-variable electrical valve actuation (no camshaft!), lean-burn engines, maybe
        HCCI (homogenous-charge compression ignition). And CVT transmissions allowing the
        engine to run closer to optimum rpm's more of the time.

        What has happened though, is that instead of using those technological advances to reduce
        fuel consumption, we have so far mostly used them to allow larger, heavier, safer, faster
        vehicles. That's why mpg is still in the same ballpark as the Model T. But that could change
        if the economic incentives are right (e.g. carbon tax or cap-and-trade, or a more aggressive
        version of CAFE).

      • Al

        get the goverment out of the way w/ mandates and regulations and you will see competition drive the safety and progress up

        • bb

          Yeah, because that really worked with mortgages and banking.

    • some dude

      A former NASA engineer also invented the Super-Soaker. Correct me if I am wrong, but wasn't that a pretty huge technological leap over the single squirt kind? I am really not sure if I am serious or not there. I tend to think I am.

  • BFH12345

    Let's be hopeful and give this a chance. Imagine how wonderful this would be. It could and would change the world.

  • johnnypalmer

    I liked mo9st of the comments, is there going to be an investment opportunity. Are you on the stock market, if so what is your symbol. Thank you.

    • Frank

      Have yur heard any feedback on the investment opportunity?

      Please let me know as I am interested. Should I find out something I will send a note.
      freedomf_2000@yahoo.com Frank

    • RCA

      Bloom is private…majority owned by Kleiner Perkins and their related investors…I think Kleiner has sunk over $400 million into Bloom over the past 9 years. I believe the 60-minute “advertisement” is simply the beginnings of taking this compnay public. It is not clear whether Bloom will actually be a reasonable stock for investors after Kleiner has extracted their original investment…What is clear however, the changing of the energy infrastructure in the world, over the next couple of decades, is not only necessary, but will be as big of an investment opportunity as the industrial revolution, air travel and computing was to their respective decades.

  • Barry

    I'd like to see the cost of the “Home Version” size. Looks like a lot of mechanical equipment surrounding the ceramic converter.

    They just received 150 M investment from US venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. I kinda think they would certainly want proof positive before laying that much money on the line!

    • some dude

      I work in a lab. I have seen many, but none of them look like what you would expect. They are dirty, dangerous, and mostly horrible places to be in. Except they are much fun if you are into that kinda thing.

      The pictures I have seen look like an R&D lab, or a set peice for the shot, where it is just plain messy, they had to clean up to make the shot for sure. Or the loading dock with a clean specimen. I load up all kinds of silly stuff with bubblers, and pretty colors, any time they bring in cameras, to make it LOOK like a lab they would expect.

      I would never let cameras in on somewhere I actually do anything, it is an absolute mess. Do not judge a book by its cover.

  • vidoctor

    If they are using Biofuels or Natural Gas, Where is the carbon dioxide going? All types of fuel cells that use any carbon based fuels emit CO2. Given the greater efficiency of conversion, it still produces greenhouse gasses. Not as bad as burning fuel, but still somthing the atmosphere does not need.

    • Airhead

      Actually, the atmosphere does need some CO2. Remember the plants man.

      • some guy

        Our oceans run on CO2 (plankton) and that is where we get all our air from (sorry rain forests…you are still pretty though). I don't disagree necessarily with the CO2 fanatics, but I also don't think we have enough information regarding these monumentally large systems to come to a responsible conclusion about impact. Obviously (to me at least), too much of anything is usually gonna mess up something somewhere.

        I doubt any efficient fuel cell is going to produce as much CO2 as say your average toaster though.

    • ron roman

      The advantage of methane or other gas type fuel is that more of the kW comes from hydrogen and less from carbon as inpetroleum or coal. Hence lees CO2 per kW.

  • davdot1

    …and to Think the ARABS are trying to distract us into hitting on IRAN….they'll NOT like this playbackk of #60; this-beats all the other FUEL CELLS and have “excess” energy left over. Of course GE will have their name on it…such brillance from a Rocket Scientist!

    • guest

      If GE buys into it or completely buys it, do you honestly think they will allow them to make residential units? Come on people, learn your lessons. GE and Mr. Morgan Stanley shut down Tesla when they found out the power couldn't be controlled/metered. The energy industry will hopefully collapse in the next 20 years, because every household in North America will be self-sufficient.

      • PrahaPartizan

        Actually, in GE's present configuration, GE would benefit from taking over the concept and marketing the individual power cells to the residential and business market much as one would any appliance. GE would have had difficulty participating in the Tesla discoveries because they didn't control the utility franchises and they didn't have meters available to measure consumption. GE as now structured would be able to design, build, market and finance the sale of the power cells – even lease them if it came to that. Only the utilities' displeasure at GE doing something like that would provide an impediment and that would be a corporate call on just which alternative offered the best long-term profit potential.

      • some dude

        I think the fight between Tesla and Edison is interesting as hell, and I am glad someone brought up Tesla. He had many odd ideas, some of them actually worked. Without Tesla making the advantages of AC known at a time we were deciding how to design “The Grid” we would all have a generator at our house spewing junk you can't breath all day so we could have lights… or worse, the trees would all be gone because we would still be burning wood imho. Edison was a mover and a shaker politically, and he wanted to push DC as the source of our electrical transmission needs because it was his brainchild and for no better reason I can see. Everything ultimately runs on DC, true, including your heart. You ALWAYS need converters/inverters. For instance, look at a device using a 9v battery. The wires are very short (I am the furthest thing from an electrical engineer ever, if you guys are out there help me here). They are short, because basically the DC type current breaks down over a short distance. If not for AC, we would all be living as close to power plants as possible, like on top of them.

        Why is this relevant? I think it is because we are in a similar struggle now. We got something that works, and we all know it works, so we buy it. Long distance power lines were an insane idea in Tesla's time. There were many design issues in getting AC to be generally available. But, the improvements AC offered were so far beyond the usage of DC…we did it anyway, and we did it freaking fast. I predict the same thing happening with anything that offers an improvement so beyond the stuff we currently use. But, once again…it needs to be very obviously the real deal. It needs to be immediately obvious to John Q. Public. It also needs to be profitable. I was very excited about this until I saw the numbers. The ballpark 50% efficiency is way beyond what we have now…but if I put a dollar in a coin changer, and get 50 cents back, I am still mad. This device is elegant, and may be a step in the right direction, though I doubt it. But, is it a world shaker? We will have to wait and see. The whole freakin world is so different now, it is difficult even to use history as a reference. I still think someone some day is going to find some glowing green goo coming out of the ground in Russia or something, or find a particle that generates electrons with pee and it will be like WHAMMO! In the meantime, we keep recycling existing tech ad infinitum.

      • Another Guest

        Rock on guest ! Finally a reference to Tesla and his dealings w/ GE & Morgan Stanley. Just another one of those crazies, eh !?! haha.
        Big interest groups = Big cost to the consumer. The rich don't get richer by giving money away (in any form).
        If GE (or anyone for that matter) buy these fuel cells, we would be none the wiser, because they wouldn't inform us of it … 30% profit margin … pays for it self in a year or so.
        Not big companies … they wouldn't … they don't ;-p
        I couldn't agree with your speculation more. Although as for the aforementioned fast actions (mentioned by the ever so informative Some Guy), this ideal will take 20 yrs or so. It's not about a single solution. I believe North America (A.K.A. Canada) will “step up to the plate” in my life time, so that our children can maybe work on something more conductive. Like filtering the harmful metals and what not, that we dump into our atmos-fill .. I mean sphere. Atmosphere. Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying Canada because of their economy. I say it because of the people.Money has no flavour, people are the spice in life.
        Peace

    • some dude

      I am glad I don't get to work by rocket.

  • Don

    Will the oxygen come from the enviornment or from a tank? If it's a tank how often will it need changing?

    How will the Hydrogen be safely expelled to prevent a fire hazard or explosion?

    What kind of maintenance and at what cost for a single family residence?

    Can the box be made small enough to power an electric automobile?

    When will an IPO be made on the stock market and what will the ticker be?

  • cicciombello

    Well I don't get how this can be “the real thing”.

    Fuel cells are not a source of energy, they are just an electrical engine. They use a chemical energy source (be it natural gas or whatever) and produce electricity out of it. What can be interesting is their efficiency, which I guess this hype is all about. They are more efficient than traditional combustion engines in transforming chemical energy. In addition to this, and in the case of building energy supply, they can cogenerate heat and power, so the overall efficiency will be pretty good and give operational costs savings.

    With a fuel cell thou, your home or office is not going to be independent of either the grid, or fuel supply. We're not talking of a new source of energy, but of a different way of producing energy from a potentially traditional source.

    To me, the good thing about them is if they get coupled with renewable enegy sources, so to also act like batteries by storing incoming electricity into chemical energy through electrolysis, then reconverting it to electricity on demand (typically to stabilise intermittent renewable energy supply). So for example if you have a big photovoltaic roof whose peak output is well over your needs, then with a fuel cell you can smooth and spread its output over the day, and for instance run the office's servers overnight (you'd need one big roof thou…).

    Back-up power, that's what fuel cells are mainly for, when applied to buildings. But if we think of them as new engines for liquid fuel-powered electric vehicles, then I can see a clearer point. With the same amount of juice we'll run several more miles. Still, hardly exciting if the eventual goal is not running on fossi fuels (and totally replacing our current use of fossil fuels with biomass juice is just impossible).

    They will be an interesting add to the mix, increasing energy efficiency and empowering the smart grid.

    Good stuff, but hardly an exciting breakthrough in my opinion.

    • some dude

      If i could gather all the gasses produced by dumps, I wouldn't even want to respond. I think many people look at rot and dumps as a bad thing. When things rot they produce methane, which can be then used to power this device. I mean, the dumps are even plumbed with pipes to vent the methane gas that is a natural product of decompasition we could collect already. I cease to even care about the device, it is slick, great, we are pissing away tons of usable fuel into our atmosphere every day. I don't get it. Not enough people who care and know what is really going on get it or say anything about it. I want to trap the gas and sell it. It is so possible with what we have already and I am at a loss. I so could care less if the ice melts, I just see us making trash and fuel at the same time and just letting it go. I see a system capable of using that fuel and people wondering how we supply it and I don't get it.

    • salubrius

      I regret to say that Solid Oxide Fuel Cells, such as Bloom's device, are intended to be used as base load energy sources. As the most efficient they would be dispatched first. In a home, they may be dispatched for heat and take advantage of all the electrical energy with any needed supplemental energy from a local utility. They can't be used as backup because it takes them to long to go from cold to operational. PEM fuel cells could serve that function. The Plugpower PEM fuel cell, had problems because as a low temperature fuel cell it used platinum as a catalyst and likely it was easily poisoned by carbon monoxide, even by small traces in the natural gas reformate. However the stack is being marketed separately as a backup device, fueled by bottled hydrogen gas. It is used in telephone central stations and in electric utility substations to operate relays and circuit breakers when the grid goes dead.

      • cicciombello

        It's a shame if they will be only used as baseload power, because in this case their possible success will be short lived and weirdly dependent on abundant fossil fuels. Their reliance on an old-fashioned fossil source (we wouldn't be able to replace all gas demand with supply of biogas, although we absolutely have to pursue this at our best) is the weakest link of a fuel cell to the new energy business, albeit at the moment it may seem the strongest.

        Surely at Bloom they're thinking of possible connection with renewable energy sources (K.R. Sridhar said the Box will be able to be fed with solar power… but wouldn't go further), which is something we should all be hoping for.

        The more flexible these devices prove to be, the more successfull and possibly “world-changing” they will become. But so far I only see a big marketing hype for a solution that can be filed in the “energy efficiency” folder, not the “breakthrough” one. But we should all stay tuned for future developments, which is what I'm more interested about. 60-70% efficiency on fossil fuel conversion is… yawnn! :-)

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jason-Bauserman/1252105784 Jason Bauserman

    This invention or inventions like this are exactly what we need. And all people should continually moniter the progress of these things, so that the idea's don't get bought up by the economic powers and never used because of the simple fact that it's not as profitable as what they already have you commited to. Some are scared of change, and I totaly understand, but we have to be open minded to doing all things in a better way. I hope for the best out of this project and for the simplest of idea's swimming around in peoples head's to make this a better world and us a better people.

  • Herb Kirchner

    Too good to be true. Must stand the test of time. It seems like a natural for alternative energy cars, which would require a small unit and would save the planet and revolutionize the hybrid automobile. That would be a nice way to introduce this miracle technology to the public, provided it works as presented on 60 minutes.

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  • http://youtube.com/ MrPanetela

    I had the pleasurable experience of standing nearby a tree that was being struck by lightening. The lightening was pencil thick in diameter, and made the sound of sizzling bacon. In broad daylight, it was as bright as a camera flash. Nature seems to make energy easily. And without porus silicon chips coated with the Colonel's secret recipe. A better understanding of the nature of water may be the way to go, as the manufacturing of hydrogen seems to be a waste of time, money n energy, when all you really want are the use of the ions. A specially built maze that would accelarate a breeze into tornado force gale could also be useful for energy production. The friction between its air cone tip to the flat surface then could be harnessed to heat air/water to strip off ions which could then be siphoned off to use as free energy. Warm moist air contains a great deal of energy, I welcome any links to any related materials. And looking forward to hearing more about bloom's Energy's official anouncement.

    • MK

      Huh…?

    • some dude

      Ionization requires energy. True, energy is not created or destroyed in most conditions…but we need to move it around to use it, and we need something consistent to generate it and hold it. Your tree probably exploded, as would our transformers. To move or change an atom or molecule requires energy, and due to the conservation of energy…you can't get more than you put in. And I agree with MK…

      Huh?…

  • andreas

    As someone has already said this is not new, news just hype. Check out Ceramic Fuel Cells of Australia. They have to products. MCHP and BlueGen. Both of which operate from Gas (could be bio at some point I believe). They have a product awaiting CE approval at the moment. (due March)

    As someone pointed out highly efficient 80/85% if the bi product heat is used for water or in the case of MCHP (heating). The biggest plus at the moment is the greater efficiency 60% v most central power which I believe is 30-40%. Once you factor in transmission losses you are talking about a much less efficient product. One of the biggest pluses with fuel cells is the decentralised nature of the generation and therefore much more minimal transmission losses.

    These will be key in providing energy for the world into the future. I concede that they arent strictly green as they still use gas but I think they are a massive leap forward in thinking. Also huge benefits by way of large decentralised base of elec gerneration.

    Just my thoughts.

    • MK

      The electrical sources may be decentralized, but the fuel sources to these cells would not be.

      I do like the idea of co-generation. We'd squeeze alot more energy out per pound of CO2.

    • PrahaPartizan

      Don't you need to produce hot water and steam as a by-product of the process to cool the cycle. Every solid oxide fuel cell I've heard of runs at super-hot temperatures and have had numerous problems with the simple problem of catching on fire. If they run on H2, they're fine. Once you switch to CH4 or some other hydrocarbon, you start to see the buildup of some form of soot (noncrystallized C) in the system, which leads to fire hazards when you're humping at 500+ degree C processes. Do they mention in their PR just how they overcome these types of problems?

      • salubrius

        Hot water, process steam, space heating and air conditioning all have been mentioned as loads for the thermal energy cogeneration. At the Rhone Kilikum in German, the Fuel Cell Energy Company that produces a high temperature fuel cell reported a combined heat and power efficiency of 90%+.

    • salubrius

      Check out Versa Power Systems too.

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  • Peter

    Ceramic Fuel Cells Limited or CFCL is a world leader in fuel cell technology.

    Australian stock exchange code is, CFU. Price at close of trade on Monday 22.2.2010 was 16.5 cents.

    For what they have this is a massively under valued stock!

    • some dude

      The last thing I want to invest in is a “world leader”. I want someone to come out of nowhere with nothing and shake it all up so fast special interests haven't even brushed their teeth yet. And I get plenty of advice on penny stocks from plenty of people with 10 cents in the bank and less in their head. But hey, thanks for the tip.

  • Art

    Ballard Power makes the best motive fuel cells in the world….this should help spur interest again.

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  • eetrinko

    That Bllom Box is AMAZING. Google saved like over $100,000 in savings in a 9 month period! This is clearly the greatest thing since sliced bread!

    Jess
    http://www.online-anonymity.vze.com

  • tj

    has anybody found out if you can buy stock in this

    • Kat0505

      I am trying to find out how to buy stock too. I am researching on the internet and havent yet found much.

    • Chesnuttls

       I called Bloom Energy about 2 years ago to ask about the very same question. They referred me to the business office currently they are the only ones who sell the shares.  It is not public.

      LC

  • Trust but Verify

    You investment junkies didnt learn a thing from the Madoff / Ponzi scheme debacle, did you? At least verify the status of the company & product first before all you blood drains from your brain to your nether regions.

    BTW…. It would be a great development. I hope it pans out.

    • dcraven

      great comment if it pans out it would be wonderful, but a unit in my basement than cost $700 to $800000 to buy run on fosssel fuel requires filters, maintenance ,and an unknown life expectancy come on. Dr. Sridhar sounds like he's selling snake oil medicine too me oldest trick in the book.

  • keyonis

    It still takes another energy source to operate, the big advantage is eliminating the cost of transmission lines,
    I'm all for it

  • Kurt

    To all of the “investors” asking about IPO dates and ticker symbols: Are you really this dense? Why are you trolling for stock tips on the comment board of Triple Pundit? Are you really ready to pour your hard earned dollars into an unproven, secretive company that hasn't made a dime yet? I'm all for clean energy, technological advancement, and replacing the coal and oil industry with green alternatives, but you're testing the limits of reason.

    • some dude

      If people did not pour funds into things that might or not work we would still be using sticks to break open walnuts. It is called gambling, and it is as much a part of human culture as prostitution and saying things you regret in the morning. You gamble, to extend the analogy, on something you “hope” will “win”. The whole concept of capitalism is based around if it sucks it fails. But it is mostly about hope. You hope you got a faster horse, I hope this stuff actually works and I can give Nevada Power the finger…or even better, make them pay ME for handing power back to them I don't need.

      That is not a theory guys… You can sell your excess power (from generating it yourself) back to the power company in your area too. So you get a check instead of a bill. I just love that to death. The cost outlay at the front is big. It isn't like a get rich scheme at all, it is a pay less in the long run.

      That is why we pay power companies/industries to do what they do, they suckered some folks with some hope into funding the development of the resource. And the suckers were right, and drive golf carts now.

      I am so sick of people asking for the stock value/location on this, google that umm…stuff (my mom even asked me ffs). If I was running the company, and I had something that was just awesome and it was already mostly capitalized?…I would plan my IPO for like 3030.

      PS: I still want to know how fast they break

  • Steve Harbauer

    It's ironic the new program mentions the Segway. I think it's another network, but we all know news program way oversimplify stuff. Some things they gloss over are the ONLY energy incentives left are for fuel cells.
    And don't expect to see this at Sears or Home Depot in the next five years. It's going beside the substations. This is something major solar install companies were already moving toward – away from residential and doing megawatt installs adjacent to substations.

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  • johnscott87

    For how many houses (x) does one box supply power? Take a number, $800,000, $400,000 (remember the tax breaks) and whatever the cost per year for the (x) houses, and you should be able to figure the payback years pretty quickly.
    I know in some locations that people with solar can sell back to the utilities. I wonder at what point this would be a good investment, and how long it would take to earn your money that way.
    Simple math. Details on Wednesday I guess. Looking forward to it (plus the efficiency improvements).

    • salubrius

      $800,000 for the prototype. Expect the cost to go down by 10% to 30% each time the production volume doubles. From one to 100,000 it doubles a lot perhaps 8 on quick calculation. .

  • http://youtube.com/ MrPanetela

    Are we missing the point? For the time being, large Corps can only afford it at the moment. Think, what would happen if the price of fuel sky rocketed? They would have a fall back position but not you or me. It's just efficient enough to get them interested, but not too efficient to mass produce, why? Monopoly anybody? If this is for real, where are the politicians climbing over it to get a cut of the action? In a day and a half we will know one way or the other, til then, hold onto your green backs. Remember the Segway and Quantum computer breakthrough…they are real but were vastly over hyped.

    • salubrius

      That actually happened in the year 2,000 I recall when natural gas went from $2.30 an MCF to $10 in the wintertime when natural gas heating customers were competing with electric utilities using combined cycle units (with a front end of an aeroderivative internal combution turbine) and more the next year. The electric utility industry had been building almost exclusively these for base load generation. Afterwards they switched to coal fired steam turbines.
      However recently the gas industry learned how to drill horizontal parallel wells in oil shale and we now have an estimated gas supply enough for 100 years. It costs slightly more than the gas from the traditional vertical gas wells as fracturing is also needed.

  • zeizei

    Thank you again for all the knowledge you distribute!I am glad to post my views and points in this blog!
    http://www.abercrombieofficial.org

  • pdickey

    I watched the 60 minutes segment last evening, and if I remember correctly it was stated that the Bloombox uses half the natural gas for the equivalent amount of power the power company produces. In my opinion that equates to half the price for my power consumption no matter how gas prices fluctuate.

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  • Dr. Holiday

    It all boils down to cost of producing electricity per kwhr. or in other words the efficiency of this ceramic, proprietary ink, and “metal alloy” fuel cell. If they can get the long term cost (which includes the cost of the fuel cell and the fuel going into it over the life cycle of the fuel cell) under 10 cents per kwhr. using natural gas which the U.S. has enormous reserves, then it will a world changer. JMHO.
    Dr.H

  • Peter

    Further to my post about Ceramic fuel cells limited,
    Australian stock exchange ASX CFCL's code is: CFU.
    Closed Tuesday trade up 12% and on huge volume for this company…26,000,000 Plus shares traded!

    I have been with this investment in CFCL now for over 3 years,and am looking for a very good return on investment in the next 12 months or so. Possibly for me a 10 bagger+.
    Ceramic Fuel Cells Limited's website hosts an awesome amount of info for those wishing to look into it.

    • salubrius

      I think they will do well, but so will Fuel Cell Energy with its Molten Carbonate Fuel Cell that already has some 60 projects installed around the world. Also, it owns 42% of the shares of Versa Power Inc. that has a Solid Oxide Fuel Cell, as does Bloom, but Versa, I think is many years ahead of Bloom in the longevity of its cells and in other attributes.

  • POWER HOUSE

    MY NIGHT SCHOOL PHYSICS PROF BACK IN THE 60'S WORKED SUMMERS WITH NASA AND CAME BACE SAYING FUEL CELLS SHOULD BE PRODUCING ENERGY FOR VEHICLES AND HOMES IN THE NEXT 10 – 15 YEARS, LOOKS LIKE MAYBE WE ARE CATCHING UP, NOW IF THE BIG MONEY WILL STAY OUT OF THE WAY.

  • caseyverdant

    The world will have to wait to see exactly how Bloom Energy uses fuel cells to make electricity at this scale with no emissions, but powering over a 100 homes for less than $1 M is an incredible prospect. Great to know eBay, Google, and Fedex are pioneering the trials of this new technology: let the countdown begin!

    Researching how to make your company, product, or next project more Green? Go to http://www.greencollareconomy.com for sustainability white papers and the largest b2b green directory on the web.

  • pardhag

    K.V.Sridhar is going to create history tonight or tomorrow, so if Bloom boxes hit the market and it performs as he mentioned in CBS and if it's durability touches 30 years,he deserves Nobel prize, and it should be considered one of the greatest achievements turn the human's achievement. And it's going to create and revolutionize whole auto industry. Suppose one cylinder of LPG cylinder will give double the milege hence no pollution and simple to convert all petrol & diesel cars to LPG or Bio.

  • Gerald Schwartz

    Why all the fuss…I just heard about these guys in Utah that invented room-temperature fusion…that's where I'm gonna invest….

  • Alan

    Anyone take a moment to think and ask yourselves, what will the cost be, are we exchanging one energy cost for another. The day we switch from the grid to a natural gas powered machines is the day the rates for natural gas go through the roof. The guys who control the natural gas are going to benefit from this, not joe public.

    Now if you have a means of producing methane, enough to power this thing, then just maybe you will come out ahead.

    If you have dough to throw, invest in the natural gas companies, theur stock can go nowhere but up.

    I for one would like to be able to pull Hydrogen from water using solar or wind power and have that stored as energy. Why invest in batteries, hydrogen is a battery and does not need rare earth metals to the extent that these glorius hybreds do.

    Now to go build that methane pit in my backyard … wonder if the neighbors will notice :) ! …..

    • PrahaPartizan

      “…I for one would like to be able to pull Hydrogen from water using solar or wind power and have that stored as energy. Why invest in batteries, hydrogen is a battery and does not need rare earth metals to the extent that these glorius hybreds [sic] do…”

      A fuel cell is nothing more than a battery which draws on the chemical reaction between H2 and O2 rather than some other metals or oxides as we now do. We still have the cost issue generated by the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics which dictates that we consume more energy making the H2 than we get out of it. So, we still need to build a 3MW wind turbine to recover 2.5MW (or whatever) level of energy in the H2 produced. That inefficiency drives up the cost and we can't do anything about.

  • thejackel777

    started a pro con list about this if you want to weight in
    http://www.proconlists.com/list/technology-scie

  • Jack C

    I see this technology, coupled with some storage mechanism (super capacitors) as a way to move from coal-fired to natural gas power plants. As far as use in individual homes and businesses, the technical hurdles will be tough to overcome. These things like to operate continuously at a steady load, exactly the opposite of the load situation in most homes.

    • PrahaPartizan

      Wouldn't that be the purpose of the battery and capacitor systems to buffer the energy source from the power draw? We run into the same issue with gas turbines, which much prefer to operate at a steady rate as well. In fact, almost all heat engines would run at a constant rate if they had they're druthers. We're the jerks which make them do otherwise.

  • supersammy

    The Future still offers a few ‘Amazing’ Discoveries…
    Stephen Verdon, Ph.D. and Company
    ChlorFree Global Ionizing 'Water Conditioning' Capsules
    “Purifying WATER for Life…”
    For Water Tanks, Pools, Spas, Fountains, and so much more…
    http://www.MiracleEgg.com / http://www.AquaSmarter.com

  • Guest

    Raise your hand if you, or someone you trusted, were duped by the cold fusion invention back in 1989.

  • jcallen

    Remember the “miracle” carburetors from the 60s & 70s that doubled your gas mileage?
    Poppycock!

  • manoa2

    I just saw the 60 minutes piece.

    For the skeptics– there are now major beta testers/customers– google, Ebay, and Walmart.

    Ebay was big on rooftop photovoltaics, but they point out that a few of the boxes produce 5x as much electricity for Ebay as the acres of PV's they have. This has commercial application.

    • PrahaPartizan

      We'll see just how much Ebay likes 'em when they burn down one of their server farms. None of this stuff is terribly new, just newly hyped.

  • Laura

    One of the companies that has installed Bloom Technology reports saving $100K in 9 months. What fraction of their overall energy usage (or for the unit where Bloom is used) does this represent? Many large companies have PG&E bills that are more than $100-200K/month. In this scenario, $100K in 9 months really isn't much more than what you can save by trimming use by turning down the lights at night etc.

    Not all that remarkable….

    • Beaker

      Not sure what eBays enery costs are but lets say they are 150,000 dollars per month. Thats approx 7% electricity saving over the course of a year (I think!). Not great given that the unit costs 800,000 dollars. Multiply that by 5 and their installation is 4 million (not sure what tax breaks there are) but lets say 30% its still 2.8 million. you are looking at about a 22-23 year payback (taking into consideration maintenance.) Again I don't know the figures for Ebays energy costs but it would be interesting to see the breakdown of savings Vs. investment.

    • salubrius

      That is useful only if you know that Bloom Technology made a profit or broke even on the sale to the company. Other fuel cell companies have been selling at a loss until the volume was great enough to reduce the cost to a point where they can be sold margin positive.

  • Noel

    Yet Obama is promoting Nuclear energy rather than something like this; something isn't fitting together here. What about waste product?

  • Tank

    I work in the Power Industry and I see Bloom coming out with a great product. Right now the people most likely to use this are those who already are such as google and ebay with baseload needs. In New England, retail rate is near $.15/kwh. If you mortgage the $700k box for 10 years plus fuel, you are looking at .10-.11 cents /kWh. Saving money from day one. Add in capacity credits and other incentives and its looking very juicy. And dont worry about skyrocketing nat gas prices. This would replace generation on the grid using half the nat gas.

  • branchwater

    Lots of publicity in the past few days surrounding the Bloom Box Energy Server, a modular electricity source that is (presumably) a natural gas powered Solid Oxide Fuel Cell system. Bloom Energy has lined up an impressive roster of demonstration projects and high visibility supporters, and their CEO paints an attractive vision of a small energy future.

    Perhaps Bloom Energy really has made life-changing breakthroughs in the efficiency, cost or longevity of SOFC technologies, but there doesn’t seem to be enough data or real world experience to sort the Bloom Box reality from the hype. In any case, there’s a lot of SOFC info and many more SOFC related companies out there.

    More details here …
    http://rcbrothers1.wordpress.com/2010/02/25/ele

    Lots of publicity in the past few days surrounding the Bloom Box Energy Server, a modular electricity source that is (presumably) a natural gas powered Solid Oxide Fuel Cell system. Bloom Energy has lined up an impressive roster of demonstration projects and high visibility supporters, and their CEO paints an attractive vision of a small energy future.

    Perhaps Bloom Energy really has made life-changing breakthroughs in the efficiency, cost or longevity of SOFC technologies, but there doesn’t seem to be enough data or real world experience to sort the Bloom Box reality from the hype. In any case, there’s a lot of SOFC info and many more SOFC related companies out there.

    More details here …
    http://rcbrothers1.wordpress.com/2010/02/25/ele

  • garrygolden

    Recent posts where I highlight disruptive market elements of chemical fuels and distributed power generation:

    Bloom Box and the Very Disruptive Future of Distributed Energy [Video]
    http://www.garrygolden.net/2010/02/23/bloom-ene

    Why Personal Power Systems Might be the Biggest Story in the Future of Energy
    http://www.garrygolden.net/2010/02/21/future-of

    Bloom Energy CEO Interview explains 101 of Fuel cells as Bridge and Destination
    http://www.garrygolden.net/2010/02/25/bloom-ene

    Garry G
    Brooklyn, NY

  • branchwater

    The true fuel cell reaction is between hydrogen and oxygen, producing water and electrons (which are drawn off via conductors as electric current).

    The Bloom Box (and many other fuel cell technolgies) produce their own hydrogen by breaking down a hydrocarbon (such as natural gas, methanol, etc). Commercial hydrogen – the kind you would use to fuel your hydrogen car – is made in HUGE amounts today for refineries and chemical processing by breaking down a fossil fuel (natural gas, coal, oil or coke), or in the conceptual future, bio-mass. In all such cases, the carbon portion of the starting material ends up as CO2 – a problem.

    Hydrogen is also easily – but not cheaply – made in the lab with nothing more than electricity and water. If we're committed to a non-fossil fuel future, and we're willing to pay the extra price, we could – again in that hypothetical future, build a hydrogen economy based on electricity derived not from fossil fuels but from nuclear, solar and wind.

    • salubrius

      CO2 is not a problem unless you have been conned into believing global warming. What is a problem is toxic pollution. Fuel cells will practically eliminate that because they operate at lower temperature than the temperature of combustion. Even if you believe in global warming, fuel cells will reduce the CO2 by 50% per kWh because they are twice as efficient as conventional generation when measured at the customers meter after the I squared R losses are factored in.

  • Paul Richard Thorsnes

    How exactly does this work? Hydrogen fuel cells in cars fuel a combustion engine. Nuclear power plants runs steam engines to propel electric generators. Does this technology produce electricity without any secondary machinery?

    • salubrius

      Fuel cells need some auxiliary plant. For example, for stationary fuel cell that are to be connected to he grid, the fuel cell output is DC so it has to be inverted to AC. That reduces the efficiency by perhaps 13%.

  • http://www.bloomdaily.com/ Bud Smith

    Lots going on here, but the real story, I think, is the potential for the Bloom Box to serve as fairly efficient storage for excess power from renewables such as wind and solar. This could make renewables, currently plagued by intermittency, “baseload”, and eliminate much of the rationale for continuing to burn coal in particular.

  • http://www.bloomdaily.com/ Bud Smith

    I meant to say intermittent renewables can become baseload sources if the Bloom Box works as promised. They have to plumb the boxes this way, and tests need to be done on efficiency, to assess the possibilities. http://www.bloomdaily.com

    > Lots going on here, but the real story, I think, is the potential for the Bloom Box to serve as fairly efficient storage for excess power from renewables such as wind and solar. This could make renewables, currently plagued by intermittency, “baseload”, and eliminate much of the rationale for continuing to burn coal in particular.

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  • Poco

    Anyone wonder what the cost of natural gas will go to if these type devices become readily available? And that $3k price for a 1kW home set sounds good, but you aren't running an A/C, washer-dryer, dishwasher, and all the electronics the typical home has off of that small a unit.

    • branchwater

      I've read the typical US household uses something like 2-3kW avg rate, maybe 10kW peak rate – my wife's hair dryer is something over a half kW – so a self-sufficient house will require maybe 10 of the modules. Then (even if the bare module price really is only $3000/kW) expect another $3000-4000 per kW for installation, inverters and wiring.
      At this point, your installed cost is way higher than for a similar size rooftop solar PV – and you will still have a sizable natural gas bill, on top of the costs of replacing the BloomBox modules @ ca 5 year intervals.
      http://www.market-intel.com

      • salubrius

        The average home peak load is 10 kW. I think Bloom meant $3,000 for 10 kW as others are in that ball park.

  • ric

    i think this is an alien technology,thats been revealed,roswell..

  • Patrick Lee

    Anytime there is a so-called technological miracle, just follow the money. Average people will still get the shaft. It would be a miracle if you could provide nearly free energy…but by the time this product gets to market end users(individuals, famililes) probably not save much. Anyway all this “miracle” remains to be seen.

  • HMITO

    I`ll be waiting for first real efficient bloombox making 1kw per $ 0.12

  • Paul

    No one has answered the MOST IMPORTANT QUESTION:
    THE BLOOM BOX RECEIVES INPUTS OF OXYGEN (FROM AIR) AND HYDROGEN (FROM BIO-FUEL OR NATURAL GAS, BOTH OF WHICH CONTAIN CARBON (NATURAL GAS IS CH4))
    THE OXYGEN AND HYDROGEN COMBINE, WHICH PRODUCES HEAT, WATER AND ELECTRICITY – GREAT! NOW WILL SOMEONE PLEASE TELL ME WHAT HAPPENS TO THE CARBON!!??

    • http://www.bloomdaily.com/ Bud Smith

      Hi Paul,
      I've seen this discussed. There definitely IS CO2 output.
      So why is this a big deal? Several reasons:
      – It's easy. You already have natural gas coming in. Creating electricity with it onsite is convenient.
      – It's quite efficient. It generates about one-third less CO2 than burning natural gas in a natural gas power plant. It generates less than half the CO2 of burning coal in a coal power plant. Also, with any outside power plant, you have transmission losses. So, this is a big win.
      – If there's a source of biogas nearby, you can bring that in, and it's carbon neutral (carbon was absorbed to make the biostuff, it's released when you burn it, net 0 emissions). This is directly burning green fuel.
      – If there's a source of biogas far away, put it in with the natural gas already in the system, and the Bloom customer contracts to pay specifically for the biogas. Then you're indirectly burning green fuel (economically, though actually you're burning the same mixed fuel as all others).
      – It burns hydrogen. If you get a source of hydrogen nearby, such as solar power being used to “crack” water, then this is a very efficient and relatively cheap hydrogen-to-electricity plant.
      – And, eventually – the “killer app”, as the CEO put it – this can be plumbed differently, then TAKE IN solar-generated electricity that isn't needed at the moment, CREATE hydrogen from water, STORE it, and BURN it after the sun goes down. Even if this is only 50% efficient each way – 25% efficient net – it's still much better than getting nothing from your extra solar-generated electricity.
      See http://www.bloomdaily.com for more.
      Cheers, Bud

  • http://youtube.com/ MrPanetela

    Innovation: Bloom didn't start a fuel-cell revolution
    15:55 26 February 2010 by Colin Barras
    http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn18584-inn

    is that all there is to fuel cells? a piece of silicon possessing a positive and negative sides? What is the definitive book about fuel cells at the present time. I really like to understand this subject more in depth.

  • LOU SISBARRO

    FOLKS,I SEE AND READ YOUR THOUGHTS ON THIS SITE; AND HEAR
    1. OH IT'S TO GOOD TO BE TRUE WELL MY GRANDMOTHER USE TO SAY THEY WILL NEVER GO TO THE MOOD WELL IT BECAME A PRIORITY AND WE DID
    ….Are you listening?
    HOW IN GOOD CONSCIENCE CAN YOU STICK YOUR HEAD IN THE SAND AND NOT SEE AND FEEL
    THE CONTROL OF ADVANCEMENTS IN ENERGY BY THE ENERGY POWER CORPORATIONS
    IN THE EVERY DAY THEFT OF MONIES …HOME HEATING, FUEL FOR YOUR CAR, COAST OF
    TRANSPORTATION FOR THE COMMODITIES YOU USE EVERY DAY.ECT, ECT,ECT,ECT!
    DON'T FALL INTO THE TRAP THAT THE ENERGY COPRS. DON'T HAVE GOOD REASONABLE SOURCES .
    IF WE COULD GO TO THE MOON WE CAN FINE AND USE ALTERNATIVE ENERGY SOURCES
    WAKE UP THE FUEL INDUSTRY LOVES TO HEAR YOU COMPLAIN AND HAVE A DO NOTHING
    ATTITUDE! KEEP THE FUEL CORPS. RICH ,HAPPY, AND IN CONTROL.
    OF COURSE CONGRESS MUST HAVE THE WARMEST HAND IN THE NATION, SEEMS AS THOUGH
    KEEPING THEM UNDER THERE BOTTOMS HAS PRODUCED THE BIGGEST DISGRACE! THE U.S.GOVT. HAS HAD.
    WAKE UP FOLKS THE ENERGY IS A CONTRIVED PROBLEM TO KEEP PRICES HIGH.

  • RADCleanEnergy

    There are many benefits to Bloom's solid oxide fuel cell technology if it succeeds. The distributed nature of the device could help foster adoption of electric vehicles since it could help offload some of the stress on the national grid.

    http://www.notpetroleum.com/2010/02/27/bloom-energy-an...

    Bloom's energy server can also help reduce the amount of fresh water used to generate electricity at centralized coal-fired plants especially for arid climates such as in the southwestern US.

    http://www.drywelljournal.com/2010/03/06/bloom-energy-...

    I think it is important that we look at the big picture of the value of technologies such as this instead of just focusing on whether its claims of GHG reduction are accurate.

  • http://www.runawayclimatechange.com/ Bud Smith

    RADCleanEnergy,

    Bloom is absolutely dependent on subsidies related to GHG reductions, goodwill related to GHG reductions, and changes in the electric grid related to GHG reductions, so its claims of GHG reduction are crucial. Reduction in water use is an important element, as you say, and will only become more so.

    Cheers,

    Bud

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  • Jim GIglio

    The “Bloom Box” is a hoax. The thing that gives it away is the claim that it can use fuels like natural gas to produce electricity, as well as solar energy. The device cannot be a fuel cell AND a solar collector at the same time. Colin Powell and other high-profile supporters of the device (AND the investors) are going to have egg on their faces once they find out that this emperor is naked.

    jcgiglio@yahoo.com

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  • http://www.edhardyau.com/ Ed hardy

    I found your website about a month ago and check it several times a day. It is by far one of the funniest sites that I have come across.

  • Abercrombie And Fitch

    I found your website about a month ago and check it several times a day. It is by far one of the funniest sites that I have come across.

  • Ed hardy

    I found your website about a month ago and check it several times a day. It is by far one of the funniest sites that I have come across.

  • art

    if it works prove it… Take a home put one of the units measure the amout of fuel going into the unit and see if it powers the home… Put up or shut up…

  • http://hubpages.com/hub/Expanding-Foam-Insulation-Guide KeithTax

    I pray this works the way the hype says it will and at a cost anyone can afford.

  • Ade845

    Can you imagine the export potential of bloom box if it works? It will transform lives in developing countries overnight; just as cell phone did. It will increase productivity in countries like Nigeria where power supply is very unstable or none existent. This could be one of the ways to reduce the nations trade deficit. That is if the company does not move to China or Taiwan!!!!

  • jsm

    There’s a lot of comments that wonder about it “working.” SOFC technology certainly does work. However, if you really dig deep into Bloom’s literature, you will see that they are predicting about a 60% or perhaps a bit more conversion rate of the energy in the source fuel to electric energy. This is actually pretty good. It has great benefits for quiet, safe, and distributed energy generation. This would free up the electic grid and provide a means to deploy electric vehicles without massive infrastructure change should we suddenly find ourselves without foreign oil products.

    What is plainly missing in all the marketing is that this is not a “green energy source.” Instead it is an efficient means of converting natural gas (a non-renewable, non-green, fossil fuel) into electricity. Perhaps even more absent is that combined cycle gas turbines that are utilized by utilities and others on an industrial scale can also convert energy at the same efficiency of 60%.

    It is great technology to “allow” utilities to get out of the electricity producing business (as well as alleviate them from Transmission and Distribution infrastructure improvements) but it is in no way going to “save the planet.” It is only very marginally more green than current utility grade turbine technology.

    So it’s real, but not a miracle.

  • http://www.solarenergysystems.com Joseph

    In reading Update 3, I can say it is definitely not all it was cracked up to be in the beginning, but for a surety Bloom is heading in the right direction and set to make some good progress.

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  • http://bloomboxfuelcell.ORG gilbert Ryan

    simply, a game changer as far as delivering energy is concerned. Will the company meet all the said promises? the jury is still on that.

    But I give A- for a good PR campaign!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Gary-R-Reed/1421366833 Gary R. Reed

    Cold fusion anyone? Fuel injection system that can achieve 200 mpg? How about hydrogen fuel cells that produce their own power from water? All supposed to be here by now and all frauds. Not saying this is, what I am saying is once burned, twice wary. I hope this is real but I’ll wait and see.

  • Bernard Robinson

    This is remarkaable and all I want to know is how can I invest in this company Bloom Energy because I believe this is the answer to alot of the worlds dependence on fuels that has posionous emissions.

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  • http://simlehealthtoday.com/getmyhomeoffthegrid bemorphy

    Says CA will be running it soon, so it must be real, right?

  • DickTriller

    What happened to this company, product? Is it viable technology or did it go the way of the wheel. Everyone has one.

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