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Bloom Box- Renewable Energy for the Future

Updated on January 3, 2012

The BloomEnergy Server

A Stack of Bloom Energy Servers
A Stack of Bloom Energy Servers | Source

Photovoltaic Cells over Solid Oxide Fuel Cells

Alternative energy sources are essential to power our future. Wind, Solar using Photovoltaic cells have been around for sometime now but havent taken off they way they could've. Photovoltaic cells work on the principle of conversion of sunlight into electricity. This is then hooked up to a battery which can be charged and the battery then runs the equipment. Due to the requirement to use a battery, the amount of power that can be generated is limited at present and therefore, its widespread adoption has not taken place. It is used for localised power supply to a building or a small company etc. Similarly, Wind Turbines are placed in locations which are windy and they generate power which is then supplied to the grid. The main problem with renewable sources is that they are not consistently available. For eg. Solar energy is available only during day and that too the efficiency of photovoltaic cells get affected by clouds. Similarly, the efficiency of a Wind Turbine gets affected by wind speed. No wind, No Electricity and that will not do for present day homes. Therefore, a conventional -renewable energy mix is essential. Bloom Box fits the slot beautifully.

The Bloom Energy Server

Similarly, Fuel cells have been around for along time but have not delivered much on their potential promise (mainly due to commercial concerns). In our quest for renewable clean energy resources here comes another product - The Bloom Box which uses Solid Oxide Fuel cell technology. To know what is a fuel cell and how a fuel cell works, especially a Solid Oxide Fuel Cell, check out How Solid Oxide Fuel Cells work. It clearly brings out problems associated with earlier fuel cells and why SOFC's are the future. Well coming back to the Bloom Box. What is it and how does it work? What can you do with it ". Well a Bloom Box as defined by Bloom Energy is a "New class of distributed power generator, producing clean, reliable, affordable electricity at the customer site". They claim that using their patented Solid Oxide Fuel Cell technology, they are able to supply cleaner , greener and sustainable power to localities or comapanies. Additional requirements can be catered for by just adding additional "Energy Servers". In fact, their product uses a Sand like material along with renewable energy source (if required) to generate electricity through a chemical process rather than a combustible process.

Is this exciting? It sure is! Imagine a power generator at your doorstep, with no long messy (cancer causing) high tension transmission lines running over head. A product that has the flexibility to use any fuel (including renewable energy) to generate electricity. For starters big companies like Ebay, Google, Wallmart and many others have already installed these Bloom Boxes to reduce their dependence on the power grid. What are it benefits for the normal person. Well here are a few:-

  1. You reduce your dependence on the power grid and any other outage that goes along with it. Your power generation is in your backyard.
  2. If you stay in an apartment complex or in the suburbs with many houses in a locality, you all can install one big Bloom Box to give power to your entire community. Just imagine, no worrying about power outages.
  3. THe Bloom box runs on Natural Gas or Biogas. This makes it a good Clean Energy alternative.
  4. By installing the Bloom Box close to your home, Transmission and Distribution Losses reduce, which makes electricity generation more effective and efficient. Basically , you get more bang for the buck.
  5. As there are no emissions, its clean and green. An ideal combination.

As we can see, there are multiple advantages of using a Bloom Box for the normal public and not only for corporations. You can reduce your electricity bills, contribute to saving the environment and reduce dependence on the power grid. I am not sure, but there may be some tax breaks given by some states on local electricity generation (am trying to find out).Visit BloomEnergy for more information on this exciting technology. This company is one of the first of the 100 odd startups in california working on alternate energy sources to come out with a product.

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