February 24, 2010

Best news today -the Bloombox

If it pans out, within 5-10 years, you'll be able to buy a bloombox for your house for about $3000.
Bloom Box: Secret App May Be Key to Tiny Energy Plant

Set to be unveiled today, the much anticipated Bloom Box—a residential "power plant" about the size of a mini-fridge—could provide cheap, environmentally friendly electricity to U.S. households within ten years, according to Bloom Energy, the company behind the fuel cell based invention.
At the heart of the Bloom Box are
solid oxide fuel cells—in this case, flat, coaster-size ceramic plates with a secret coating—widely considered by experts to be one of the most efficient types of fuel cells.

This diagram from Bloom Energy shows how the fuel cells are painted with patented inks, green on one side, black on the other.

A single Bloom Box plate can power one light bulb, but a stack of 64 of the cells could be "big enough to power a Starbucks," Sridhar said.

Oxygen and natural gas are fed into the Bloom Box and undergo a high-temperature chemical reaction in the fuel cells to produce electricity, heat, carbon dioxide, and water.

The fuel can be piped in from municipal natural gas systems—much as it is for gas stoves and ovens—or created from biogas or, as in the case of eBay, harvested from natural gas-rich landfills.

For months now, Bloom Energy has been testing refrigerator-size Bloom Boxes at campuses of major corporations—including Google, FedEx, Wal-Mart, and eBay.

At the link, you can watch a 60 minutes video with Leslie Stahl as she explores the Bloombox with founder K.R. Sridhar.

Posted by Jill Fallon at February 24, 2010 4:18 PM | TrackBack | Permalink