Monday, February 22, 2010

The Bloom Box

The Bloom Box: An Energy Breakthrough?

In the world of energy, the Holy Grail is a power source that's inexpensive and clean, with no emissions. Well over 100 start-ups in Silicon Valley are working on it, and one of them, Bloom Energy, is about to make public its invention: a little power plant-in-a-box they want to put literally in your backyard.

You'll generate your own electricity with the box and it'll be wireless. 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.

The Future Of Energy? Bloom Energy Boxes Already Power Google, eBay, Others.

Over the past several years, there’s been no shortage of talk about alternative energy, and its potential to change the world. The problem is that most of it is just that — talk. But tonight, a report that aired on 60 Minutes showed one alternative that is not only real, it’s already being tested by companies such as Google and eBay. You simply have to watch this.

Bloom Energy are producing tiny fuel cell boxes they call “Bloom Boxes.” Two of these can apparently power a U.S. home (and only one for homes in countries that use less power). So how small are they? Look at the picture above, each device isn’t much bigger than a standard brick. Of course, they need to be surrounded by a larger unit that takes in an energy source (such as natural gas). But still, these units look to be about the size of a refrigerator and can easily fit outside of a home, providing it with clean, cheap energy.

Ultra-Secretive Bloom Box Fuel Cell Device is Revealed.

If you keep track of green technology companies, you may have heard rumblings about Bloom Energy, a secretive company that has raised nearly $400 million from investors like Kleiner Perkins for its supposedly game-changing fuel cell device. Now the 8 year-old company is finally emerging from the shadows with the Bloom Box, a $700,000 to $800,000 machine that 60 Minutes calls "a little power plant-in-a-box". So what exactly is the Bloom Box?
The box consists of a stack of ceramic disks coated with green and black "inks" . The disks are separated by cheap metal plates. Methane (or other hydrocarbons) and oxygen is fed in, the whole thing is heated up to 1,000 Celsius, and electricity comes out. Bloom estimates that a box filled with 64 ceramic disks can produce enough juice to power a Starbucks.