There’s been a big deal being made this week around a start up in the Silicon Valley touting a reportedly more advanced fuel cell technology than currently available on the market. The company, Bloom Energy, had its formal public coming out today as it unveiled the Bloom Energy Server, a machine which provides 100 kilowatts (kW) of power in roughly the footprint of a parking space.
Each Bloom Energy Server, the company says, generates enough power to meet the needs of approximately 100 average U.S. homes or a small office building. The Bloom Energy technology “converts air and nearly any fuel source – ranging from natural gas to a wide range of biogases – into electricity via a clean electrochemical process, rather than dirty combustion.” Each Server contains thousands of Bloom’s fuel cells and is said to be different from regular hydrogen fuel cell technology in four ways: “t uses lower cost materials, provides unmatched efficiency in converting fuel to electricity, has the ability to run on a wide range of renewable or traditional fuels, and is more easily deployed and maintained.”
Bloom says its Energy Servers, since the first commercial installation in July 2008, “have collectively produced more than 11 million kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity, with CO2 reductions estimated at 14 million pounds – the equivalent of powering approximately 1,000 American homes for a year and planting one million trees.” Bloom’s first commercial customers include Bank of America, Coke, eBay, Fedex, Google and Walmart.