Gallery: Bloom Energy Set to Unveil “Miraculous” Micro Power Plant

 

The news wires are buzzing today with hype surrounding the Bloom Box, a “revolutionary” micro power plant that is purported to produce a steady supply of clean, cheap, and efficient energy. The box is set to be officially unveiled this Wednesday, so details are scant and skepticism reigns, however the company has already garnered an impressive roster of clients including Google, Wal-Mart, Staples, and eBay (who purchased five boxes nine months ago and claims they are producing 100KW – enough energy to fuel 15% of their operations). Each box is about as large as a refrigerator, takes one day to produce, and uses a chemical process that combines oxygen and fuel to generate enough energy for 100 homes.

Bloom Energy claims that its new power plant is capable of producing cheap emission-free energy by combining oxygen with natural gas, propane, biofuels, or diesel. It does this without combustion through a chemical reaction that utilizes stacks of ceramic discs coated with special green and black “ink” interspersed with metal plates made from a cheap alloy. Current commercial units are expected to sell for $700,000 to $800,000, although plans have been announced for a $3,000 home unit down the line.

The Bloom Box may represent a breakthrough in grid-free clean energy, but only if it’s able to cheaply and efficiently produce power with little waste – a difficult proposition. In order for it to be considered a truly “clean” technology the device will also require a steady supply of biofuels. What do you think – will the device live up to its staggering expectations, or is this box powered by hype? Sound off in the comments!

+ Bloom Energy

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9 Comments

  1. Kyle Hill December 16, 2013 at 3:08 pm

    The *war* of clean energy vs *dirty* energy should not be an either/or issue. Heck it shouldn’t even be an issue at all! Anything that makes it seem like you only have one choice is part of the New World Order agenda to control you’re lives and you as the consumer will be royally screwed to put it nicely no matter WHO you vote.

    We DO need new power plants but at the same time they are being build we would still be investing in clean energy so our needs are less dependence letting those new imaginary power plants live longer as the years go by.

    Building new power plants will at least provide new jobs for American citizens which will give money back to the coffers that we don’t have and help a bit on that 4 Trillion debt in the last few years that for some reason nobody wants to address and instead pretends nothing is wrong.

    Do not cuddle illegal foreigners. All throughout world history crimes always go up when there is waves of illegal people and it’s not just an American problem either. Any wealthy nation will fall under too many illegals.

  2. hegde February 24, 2010 at 10:33 am

    if they can actually bring down the initial installation costs… i am enthused that it can take bio gas. gas that now goes to increase global warming , that come out of decaying vegetable matters, cow and animal dung and city garbage dumps .. small enough for a rural/ remote home.. can be scaled up to use methane from a city garbage dump. it is developing world and poor countries and remote villages in Africa wud be the early adopters. and good for countries like India who are discovering’s huge gas deposits in their backyards

  3. mstrmc February 23, 2010 at 3:48 pm

    Yes, all we need are more oxygen breathing engines to vacuum what we need to breathe on this planet. Not to mention the effects of depleted oxygen on our planet ecosystems.

  4. Carl Bentley February 23, 2010 at 1:15 pm

    Amazing to say the least. There are more sources of biofuel than we can shake a stick at. I am all for this kind of home power generating unit. To be free from all the ‘service charges’, line fees, etc. would be delightful to say the least.

    A product like this, though new, must also come with a troble shooting plan of course as well as user friendly plain language instructions.

    I for one have a fit everytime I get an elctric bill that has other non-essential for producing electricity charges.

    yours Truly,

    Carl Bentley

  5. greenskin February 23, 2010 at 11:08 am

    This, along with the news of biofuels being able to be made from non-food sources such as orange peels and newspapers – means we may be getting closer to the end game. What I’d love to see is each community having a recycling station where everyone takes their waste to be made into biofuel to create their own power through equipment such as the above. We wouldn’t need huge powerlines over thousands of miles, wouldn’t have to truck our waste/recycling long distances and we’d support community involvement. I wonder if places like Serenbe would be willing to take this on.

  6. Developer February 23, 2010 at 5:52 am

    An Australia company has already trialled a similar decentralised power generation product that converted natural gas into electricity, and was integrated into a residential community in NSW. As I come from a Property Development background, my understanding was that there were technical / regulatory issues in integrating the product within the power grid, as the system deployed here had a link to the local network, similar to a solar inverter system.

    The gas conversion units installed in this instance were mounted in concrete box culverts under the street, and required specialised skills from industry, as well as planning approvals from the multiple Government departments involved getting the project off the ground. Whilst the Developer was a publicly listed company with a solid track record in achieving high quality projects, including participation in the 2000 Olympic Village consortium [featuring 700+kW of grid connected solar], this did not alleviate the reported influence of existing energy market players.

    Through adherence to ‘procedural’ issues, the electrical network operators through consultation with the regulator wanted this project classified as a energy generator [i.e a power station], rather than a typical housing community, and thus subject to the same conditions as a typical market player. This created a whole series of regulatory issues above, and beyond what a typical developer, or entrepreneur might experience.

    Having studied this case study, my advice would be for the manufacturer of this new product to consider how easy it may be for the proponent / consumer of this product to be integrated into the markets that you wish to enter. If commercial applications offer an easier route, then take this option first. Major roll out of a residential product will require financial strength from the consortium involved, and a determination to see the project through from a range of parties involved.

  7. paulbarthle February 22, 2010 at 4:05 pm

    I read this at a fast food restaurant; fried chicken sandwich, chicken nuggets and waffle fries. This place will probably dump many gallons of fry oil daily. Lots of paper and plastic waste as well to produce syngas via pyrolisis from a future incinerating dumpster.
    My house in South Florida has a natural gas line that has never failed due to hurricane. This would be an excellent appliance that could be leased to consumers at a reasonable price. A sharp entrepreneur could market this with solar or wind installations for back-up power, or even as distributed peaker plants to moderate power fluctuations. (Hello, California!).

  8. alexjameslowe February 22, 2010 at 3:05 pm

    Sorry to be pessimistic, but lame, lame, lame- anything that requires finite resources to be mined or farmed or otherwise extricated from the ground is not a sustainable long-term energy solution for our runaway-consumerism economy. If they found a great way to make a flow battery to solve the intermittency issues for solar and wind power, or a crystal lattice which rapidly absorbs and releases hydrogen, that would really be something. If this company makes any money, it will be from tax credits that our reactionary political leaders will provide. Bio fuels are a pipe-dream, and I smell a rat.

  9. uiteoi February 22, 2010 at 2:36 pm

    This is a big fuel cell coming at $8/what, not bad. If this uses hydrocarbons it will produce CO2 at the very least.

    If the fuels comes from biofuels it comes with other problems, such as deforestation, higher food prices, more pesticides in water streams and the air, more GMO. It cannot be cleaner than the production of its fuel is.

    Now if it uses hydrogen, it could be produced using clean energy.

    Another big question will be operation costs.

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