Bloom Energy - The Potential for an Energy Evolution

The majority of our energy systems rely on a highly centralized structure; creating tremendous inefficiencies from the loss of power along the grid. A decentralized approach would increase efficiency greatly but the technologies for this type of solution have not emerged.

Now comes Bloom Energy. While it is uncertain if Bloom has actually overcome cost and reliability issues with fuel cells, CEO Sridhar recently told BusinessWeek, the Bloom box could reach “grid parity” for home use, or competitive pricing with conventional electricity sources in 3-5 years.

In two days a scheduled press conference will provide more technical information. Simply scaling down a natural gas plant and providing similar costs and reliability would be a huge accomplishment let alone achieving a home use solution. The press conference is highly anticipated and the Bloom web site has a count down to the conference.

Fortune Magazine recently reported Bloom Box's technology is based on ceramic plates stacked atop each other to form modules that can be assembled into a unit of any size.  With about $400 million in venture funding the company has been working on the technology for about eight years. Kleiner Perkins and other major Venture Capitalists are backing Bloom Energy.


told Fortune that it has a 400 kilowatt installation from Bloom at its headquarters in Mountain View, California and Earth2tech reports Bloom’s first customers are big tech companies like eBay and Google that have been using the large Bloom Boxes, which cost between $700,000 to $800,000, to power campuses and data centers (or power for 100 homes so about 1 megawatt). Bloom CEO Sridhar told 60 Minutes that in 5 to 10 years the company hopes to deliver a smaller Bloom box for under $3,000 for the residential market, an aggressive claim.

The potential for both achieving reductions in pollution relating to our inefficient power supply and distribution systems while delivering greater effiency more economically holds out great hope for our future. In the world of energy, the Holy Grail is a power source that's inexpensive and clean. Watch the 60 minutes story to learn more.