A power plant for your backyard

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The Bloom Box is being used to power large companies such as Google and eBay. Photo courtesy of Bloom Box.

The worldwide craze of “going green” has greatly impacted the way inventors of renewable energy sources think. Former NASA scientist K.R Sridhar has developed a sustainable and efficient energy source that creates inexpensive clean energy. Bloom Energy founded Sridhar’s Bloom Box in 2001, but only now is the public eye catching a glimpse.

CBS’s Lesley Stahl with “60 Minutes” called the Bloom Box a miniature “power plant-in-a-box” after an interview with Sridhar on Feb. 21, his first public appearance revolving around the topic of this previously confidential technological invention.

The objective Sridhar wanted to reach with the Bloom Box was to maximize the amounts of energy produced with the least amount of emissions in an energy source.

Sridhar has invented a new fuel cell, like a thin battery that runs 24/7 that is completely self-sufficient and sustainable.

During the “60 Minutes” interview, Sridhar held two Bloom Boxes and stated that the units can, “ … power an entire U.S. home, two European homes and even four homes in India.” A single unit, sized for personal home usage, is smaller than a shoebox in diameter.

John Doerr, a partner with the venture capital firm who discovered and funded Google, Netscape and Amazon, sees Bloom Box as “the first clean energy investment.”

Jumping on the “Go Green” bandwagon, 20 well-known companies in California, like Wal-Mart, eBay, Staples and FedEx have invested big money in Sridhar’s technology to use as their energy source.

Google was Sridhars first customer, purchasing four units, each the size of a refrigerator. For the past 18 months, the units have been powering a portion of Google’s energy needs at their headquarters in Mountain View, Calif.

Each corporate-sized Bloom Box is currently priced between $700,000 and $800,000.
Currently, California is the only state where Bloom Boxes have been installed.

“A unit should cost less than $3,000 for home use in the next five to 10 years,” Sridhar said.

Nonetheless, uncertainty may prevent Sridhar’s Bloom Box from making its way into the common home.
“To know that Google and other big companies are using it, doesn’t really say too much. They have the means to try great new projects like the Bloom Box. Until facts and stats prove the box’s capabilities in mass quantity, I am a bit skeptical,” said public administration major Eric Frankman.

There isn’t any need for power lines from an outside source.

The Bloom Box is a stationary unit that will generate electricity in your own backyard.

“If you can generate energy where it is needed, on the spot and still meet needs, you are going to lose emissions. It will be more efficient by nature,” said computer science major Ryan Lewis.

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  • mac mcgee

    It seems Mr. Sridhar has gotten hold of my drawings/specs from about thirty years ago and has gone on to realize them in physical space. Interesting, although I did freely send them out to various news agencies and scientific organizations upon successful trial.

    Unless of course Mr. Sridhar is using a different technique – which seems unlikely considering the bulk of his design now consists of cooling… does it condensate, Mr. S.?

    The guy who may well have sent you “trodd”.

    By the way, I figured it to take about 2M to develop, was I right? Some tricky software and a tricky environment but a really simple device… no?

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