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BloomBox poised to make distributed, cleaner power
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Copyright © 2010
Bloom Energy, a Silicon Valley startup, has developed a fuel cell technology that can run on fuels such as natural gas and bio-gas from landfills. Their BloomBox is purported to be cheaper and cleaner than grid power. They envision seeing their fuel cell in every home in five to ten years with the average unit costing less than $3000 USD.
Bloom Energy, is set to publicly launch their technology on Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2010. Inventor and CEO, K.R. Sridhar, broke the longstanding silence of his company Sunday, Feb. 21, by doing an
exclusive interview with 60
Sridhar is an India-born scientist with a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering. He first began developing the technology for providing oxygen on Mars. When NASA scrapped that project, he thought to reverse the fuel cell process and use oxygen with fuel to produce electricity.
Oxygen is combined with fuel within the cell to create a chemical reaction that produces electricity. There's no need for burning or combustion, and no need for power lines from an outside source.
The cell plates are made from sand (turned into ceramic), and are coated with a proprietary ink: green on one side and black on the other.
The company has reportedly raised nearly $400 million in funding; and its first
paying beta-testing customers have included Wal-Mart, Staples, eBay, and FedEx. Google was Bloom's first paying customer. A 400 kilowatt BloomBox sits behind one of the buildings on the Mountain View campus and has been powering a large chunk of the building's energy needs since July 2008.
John Doerr, a principle involved in financing the company, who also financed Netscape, Amazon, Google and Segway as startups, predicts that the power companies will see this as a solution rather than competition. "All you need to do is buy a few BloomBoxes and install them in a neighborhood substation."
Sridhar's 9-year-old son came up with the name "Bloom", to signify the
blooming of the future: blooming of jobs, blooming of clean energy. 
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Here's the CBS interview segment:
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