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A company called Bloom Energy started in 2001 in Californian to revolutionize how we create energy.
You got to love this company. They are saying nothing less than “Changing the Face of Energy. Bloom is changing the way the world generates and consumes energy.”
The Co-founder KR Sridhar was director of the Space Technologies Lab of the University of Arizona, thinking and researching how we can make Mars habitable.
Well, somehow he began asking himself if we shouldn’t start keeping this planet habitable first and since there is no big Mars immigration project anytime soon he co-founded Bloom and applies what he learned for the benefit of planet Earth.
KR Sridhar and his colleagues have realized a fuel cell that completely relies on cheap and abundant materials like sand. They call it ‘powder to power’. They did so by watching the semiconductor industry, which also uses sand (silicon) to build chips.
They also learned from the semiconductor industry that independence from a grid and mobility are a crucial factor for successful distribution and commercial success.
Mobiles would for sure be no success if you had to be on a physical grid. Notebooks are only a success because they are mobile.
The world’s future will be seeing raising demands in energy by the so called 3rd world. So Bloom’s server can be installed in any village far from a power grid and deliver electricity into to the most distant corners of this earth…
And the best about that: its clean energy. No combustion, no pollution!! Great!!
In five to ten years they will provide a server for your home with a smaller server to get you off the grid. You can decide then which fuel you wanna use then.
I believe that a big problem why we are not seeing quick successes in new clean technologies is the pure size and inflexibility of the big energy grids we have today. A future of many, many independent consumers deciding about the best technology with every buying decision would be a great future.
But I am not so sure that the powers that be – today’s utility companies won’t step back without a fight – will not try to find ways to keep their influence on your home… let’s see.
Sridhar and his team for me are a big asset for our future.
Bloom Energy Update Aug 2010:
A town called Chattanooga in Tennessee has installed a 100kW Energy Box on the town’s utility company’s headquarters. It is the first Bloom Device installed outside of California, where Governor Schwarzenegger is a fan of Bloom .
Especially universities in California are being equipped with this technology right now. Well, and a lot of Tier 1 companies like Google, ebay and Walmart (they were mostly already in the ‘test group’).
The Box qualifies (well, is) a fuel cell, but today only used for burning fossil fuels, esp. natural gas.
The Box of this size costs up to 800.000 USD and was funded by a grant of SimCenter and a group around Congressman Wamp.
There has been some been some controversy around this project because ‘the installation would cost three times as much’ as using renewable energy…
It was ordered anyhow by the utility company as a trial and research project.