It might not be as eco-friendly as an array of solar panels but Bloom Energy’s new Bloom Box is certainly a step in the right direction. The Bloom Box or Bloom Server is essentially a fully contained personal fuel cell for commercial properties. The Bloom Servers are solid oxide fuel cells, which convert gas (either natural or bio-gas) into electricity. Bloom’s Solid Oxide Fuel Cells convert gas into electricity by taking in fuel (gas) and air into the cell wherein steam mixes with the fuel to create a “reformed fuel” that later combines with oxygen ions to create electricity. The entire process is known as an electro-chemical reaction and produces electricity, heat, water, and a negligible amount of carbon dioxide.
To get started the Bloom Energy Servers only need 120 gallons of municipal water and a small steady supply of natural or bio-gas. Furthermore, the Bloom Fuel Cells don’t even use any precious metals or harsh chemicals unlike other traditional fuel cells. Bloom Fuel Cells become even more environmentally friendly when you consider that they can run on biogas, which is formed from the biological decomposition of organic material. Biogas is environmentally friendly and shares many of the properties of normal natural gas but the main difference is that biogas is a renewable energy. According to Bloom Energy, two Bloom Boxes generate enough energy to power a house, while one Bloom Server generates 100 kilowatts of electricity–enough to power 100 average homes. Although the $700,000 plus price for the Bloom Fuel Cells has prevented widespread adoption among consumers and businesses, Bloom Energy is working hard to reduce the cost of each fuel cell to a more affordable price so that one day every house might have a Bloom Box. Currently, Bloom Energy’s is supplying some pretty big corporation with their revolutionary fuel cells include Google, eBay, Coca Cola, Staples and Walmart.
Image via Fast Company