Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Katie Couric does the "Bloom Box" on 24 Feb 2010

Following up on the tendency of CBS to milk a story, Katie Couric did a "Bloom Box" story on Wednesday, Feb. 24, following Lesley Stahl's piece on "60 Minutes" on Sunday, Feb. 21.

Couric was covering a press conference given by Bloom Energy Corp. at eBay headquarters on Feb. 24, which included the presence of California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and former Secretary of State Colin Powell [a Bloom board member].

During the conference, Niki Fenwick of Google observed that Google has had four Bloom Boxes (comprising a 400-kilowatt installation) which over the last 18 months have had 98% availability and delivered 3.8 million kilowatt hours of electricity.


Bloom fuel cell: Individual power plant in a box

Is the Bloom Energy Server Cost, Scale Prohibitive?

**UPDATE. Bob Park takes a whack at the Bloom Box on 26 Feb 2010:

The pitchman, K.R. Sridhar, CEO of Bloom Energy in Sunnyvale, is not your typical scam artist, but an artfully understated business executive. He can go on 60 Minutes or Good Morning America and never make a slip. But there are warning signs. What is it hes selling? "It starts with beach sand he says, opening a box of the stuff. It's like saying a diamond is a lump of carbon. Silicon dioxide is the most abundant mineral on Earth, and essential to modern electronics. With the help of animation, he explains that plates made of the stuff enable hydrocarbon gases to react with oxygen, producing an electric potential. It's a fuel cell. He never says so, maintaining the fiction that this is something really new. Its not. Fuel cells date back to 1838, but have found little application. The magic calls for painting the two sides of the plate with secret green and black ink respectively. Well there's a little more to it, but CEOs don't worry about details. Oh, and the Bloom Box is not cheap. However, Google, FedEx and Wel-Mart can afford to test the Bloom Box. Everybody loves the idea of distributed energy production, where we have our own power plant in the backyard. But a Bloom Box is not totally isolated; it needs to be tied to a gas pipeline. Is this the future? Probably not.

IPBiz notes that a fuel cell (the Bloom Box or someone else's) more efficiently uses the energy of a hydrocarbon than does a corresponding combustion process. The fuel cell emits less CO2 per useful energy produced than does combustion. The fuel cell still uses hydrocarbons to generate energy. As to "distributed" production, Thomas Edison was on to this more than 100 years ago.


Bloom's power plant in a box? (FAQ)


The Future Of Energy? Bloom Energy Boxes Already Power Google, eBay, Others


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