Author Topic: Bloom's Power Plant  (Read 830 times)

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Offline rickl

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Bloom's Power Plant
« on: February 21, 2011, 06:50:02 PM »
Bloom's Power Plant
Post by pandora on Feb 23, 2010, 11:43am

Start-up Bloom Energy says it can deliver a power plant in a box. What is it and how does it work?

The Sunnyvale, Calif.-based company, which is generating some serious buzz this week, will officially announce on Wednesday what it calls the "Bloom box." In an interview Sunday on CBS News' "60 Minutes," CEO K.R. Sridhar said the goal is to get businesses, and eventually consumers, off the transmission line grid and deliver power at a much lower cost with zero emissions.

What is the Bloom box?
It's a fuel cell. (See photo.) While that's nothing new--as Greentech Media editor Michael Kanellos says, fuel cells have been around since the 1800s--it's Bloom Energy's secret sauce that makes it special. Kanellos said that the solid oxide fuel cell patents point to a "yttria stabilized zirconium" and platinum electrodes. This formula is used to make an ink-coated floppy-disk-size ceramic tile. These are then stacked (see photo) into small blocks, and multiple stacks are housed in a unit about the size of a refrigerator.

Oxygen is fed into the fuel cell on one side and fuel on the other, according to the "60 Minutes" segment. The two combine in the cell to create a chemical reaction, which produces electricity. No burning or combustion. No power lines from an outside source. More here.

How much does it cost to "save" money?
In the "60 Minutes" interview, Sridhar said the boxes that companies buy cost between $700,000 and $800,000 and the goal is to make them available to the "average person" for less than $3,000. As an example of how the Bloom box is being used in corporate America today, eBay's five boxes run on landfill waste-based bio-gas and generate more power than the company's 3,000 solar panels, according to eBay CEO John Donahoe, who spoke to "60 Minutes." When averaged out over seven days, the Bloom box generates five times as much power that eBay can use, Donahoe said.

What kind of fuel does it use?
Fossil fuels like natural gas or renewable fuels such as landfill gas, or bio-gas, and solar.

Who is using Bloom boxes right now?
Google, Fedex, Wal-Mart, Staples, the San Francisco Airport, and the CIA, to name some of the most high-profile companies and organizations. A total of 20 companies are testing the box in California today. A four-unit box, using natural gas, has been powering a Google data center for 18 months. Here's a yardstick: a 30,000-square-foot office building would use four of these boxes.

h/t bonz


Re: Bloom's Power Plant
Post by irondiopriest on Feb 23, 2010, 4:16pm

I don't get how it uses fossil fuels but generates no emissions.
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