Fuel Cells Bloom On Adobe Rooftop

Rooftop gardens are becoming common in many cities, but what Adobe has planted atop its San Jose headquarters is a little different: 12 fuel cell servers known as Bloom Boxes. The tech company said it will harvest enough clean energy from the installation to meet half the site’s electricity needs.

Adobe said the boxes went in on the fifth floor of its west tower in downtown San Jose. According to a press release, each of the dozen 100-kilowatt servers is the size of an average parking space and “contains thousands of fuel cells – flat, solid ceramic squares made from a sand-like powder – which will convert air and biogas into electricity via a clean electrochemical process, producing zero net carbon emissions.”

image via Bloom Energy

This isn’t Adobe’s first foray into clean energy. In March it announced the installation of 20 vertical-axis wind turbines on the sixth–floor patio between its three office towers, benefiting from a wind tunnel effect from the westerlies that typically blow in San Jose. But those turbines produce barely more than a single kilowatt apiece, and the wind comes and goes.

“With its significant installation of Bloom Energy Servers, the company can now enjoy a smarter, localized energy source that will both reduce its carbon impact and its electricity costs,” said Stu Aaron, Bloom Energy vice president of marketing and product management.

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Pete Danko is a writer and editor based in Portland, Oregon. His work has appeared in Breaking Energy, National Geographic's Energy Blog, The New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle and elsewhere.

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