Start-up Bloom Energy says it can deliver a power plant in a box. What is it and how does it work?
The Sunnyvale, Calif.-based company, which is generating some serious buzz this week, will officially announce on Wednesday what it calls the "Bloom box." In an interview Sunday on CBS News' "60 Minutes," CEO K.R. Sridhar said the goal is to get businesses, and eventually consumers, off the transmission line grid and deliver power at a much lower cost with low emissions.
What is the Bloom box? It's a fuel cell. (See photo.) While that's nothing new--as Greentech Media editor Michael Kanellos says, fuel cells have been around since the 1800s--it's Bloom Energy's secret sauce that makes it special. Kanellos said that the solid oxide fuel cell patents point to a "yttria stabilized zirconium" material. This formula is used to fabricate an ink-coated floppy-disk-size ceramic tile (with an ink-based anode and cathode) made from 'beach sand." These are then stacked (see photo) into small blocks, and multiple stacks are housed in a unit about the size of a refrigerator.
Oxygen is fed into the fuel cell on one side and fuel on the other, according to the "60 Minutes" segment. The two combine in the cell to create a chemical reaction, which produces electricity. No burning or combustion. No power lines from an outside source. More here.… Read more