2010 has been a pretty good year for the emergence of clean tech start ups, despite the flailing economy. One of the more high flying companies in this growing sector certainly has to have been Bloom Energy, an advanced fuel cell technology firm which developed the Bloom Energy Server, a machine which provides 100 kilowatts (kW) of power in roughly the footprint of a parking space.
Bloom Energy thus far has seen success in getting its fuel cell server devices installed not only at large companies like Adobe, but also in municipalities like Chattanooga, Tennessee. These servers, collectively since their first commercial installation in 2008, have produced well over 11 million kilowatt hours (kWh) of clean 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. To learn more about Bloom Energy and the buzz behind it, we turned to Stu Aaron, vice president of marketing and product management, with our questions for this brief interview.
EarthTechling (ET): What is the back story of Bloom Energy? How did it come to be?
Stu Aaron: Bloom Energy can trace its roots to the NASA Mars space program. Dr. KR Sridhar and his team were charged with creating a technology that could sustain life on Mars. They built a device capable of producing air and fuel from electricity, and/or electricity from air and fuel. They soon realized that their technology could have an even greater impact here on Earth.
In 2001, when their project ended, the team decided to continue their research to develop a fuel cell and founded what would become Bloom Energy,
ET: What is at the heart of the technology behind Bloom Energy?
Aaron: Bloom Energy is changing the way the world generates and consumes energy. Derived from a sand-like powder, and leveraging breakthrough advances in materials science, Bloom’s technology is able to produce clean, reliable, affordable power,… practically anywhere,… from a wide range of renewable or traditional fuels.
Bloom Energy Servers are among the most efficient energy generators on the planet; providing for significantly reduced electricity costs and dramatically lower greenhouse gas emissions. By generating power on-site, where it is consumed, Bloom Energy offers increased electrical reliability and improved energy security, providing a clear path to energy independence.