Members of the media gathered at eBay’s San Jose headquarters just a few hours ago (in fact, they are still there as we write this) to see Bloom Energy founder K.R. Sridhar officially unveil the Bloom Box. Other notable speakers are venture capitalist John Doerr, who currently sits on President Obama’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board, former Secretary of State and current Bloom Energy board member Colin Powell, as well as a surprise visit from a “prominent California government official”… Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger
Sridhar started off his talk by pointing out that his goal was not only to make clean energy better, but to make it cheaper and accessible to everyone. “Without energy these people don’t have a passport to economic growth,” he said. “The geopolitical and social impact on this, is a very big part of world politics and policy. We saw this as a call to our generation. A call to make an impact. To do good, and make good. World needs accessible energy that is sustainable.”
“We felt it was our calling to make this technology.” And then he uncovered the plentiful, cheap substance that lies at the Bloom Box’s core…
Sridhar explained that the sand could be baked in a process he calls “powder to power” to form fuel cells without having to use corrosive metals. The idea would be to take a stack of the resulting fuel cells and stack them to form modules and systems that could power things with amazing efficiency. (The stack that Sridhar is holding in the first image in the slideshow can supposedly power a house).
So how will this change the world? Sridhar explained that Bloom Box technology will be “twice as efficient as U.S. grid. Need half the fuel of grid. Half traditional fuels.” In terms of the amount of space we could save using the Bloom Box, he said “Think of the stack as a chip. Take a bunch of the stacks, put together in a box, about the size of a refrigerator and its about the size of powering a small coffee shop.”
Now, as we mentioned when we wrote about the Bloom Box, saying that it can change the world is quite a big claim to live up to. However, this unveiling gives us a more concrete picture of how the Bloom Box operates, and the fact that companies like Wal-Mart and eBay (who both have representatives participating in the panel discussion immediately following Sridhar’s presentation is a good sign. Stay tuned for more updates about this fascinating breakthrough.