No matter how innovative a new technology is, it’s worthless unless people and companies make use of it in the real world, right? Well, that’s why we were excited to hear that one of the world’s largest companies, AT&T, will be installing Bloom Boxes (which, if you can remember back to February of last year, are those energy-efficient fuel cells being touted as “miracle micro power plants”) at 11 of their sites in California. While companies like Adobe have already adopted the use of Bloom Boxes, AT&T will be the first telecommunications company to power their operations using Bloom Energy Servers, a move that will hopefully get their competitors jumping on the bandwagon too.
John Schinter, Director of Energy at AT&T said of the move to Bloom, “AT&T is committed to finding more sustainable ways to power our business operations as part of our efforts to incorporate alternative and renewable energy sources into our energy portfolio. Bloom Energy provided us with a solution that was not only cost comparable but also allows us to minimize environmental impact.”
So how exactly do Bloom Boxes work? Using solid oxide fuel cell technology, these micro power plants are electrochemical conversion devices that produce electricity directly from oxidizing a fuel. If you don’t speak geek, the most important takeaway here is that the new Bloom Energy Servers at AT&T‘s sites will provide 7.5 megawatts (MW) of clean, reliable, and surprisingly affordable power, and will supposedly reduce the company’s CO2 emissions by approximately half compared to if they drew from the grid.