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Discussion page for Directory:BloomBox Fuel Cell by Bloom EnergyLatest: Directory:Fuel Efficiency > Directory:Fuel Cells > Directory:BloomBox Fuel Cell by Bloom Energy > BloomBox poised to make distributed, cleaner power materialize - Bloom Energy, a Silicon Valley startup, has developed a fuel cell technology that purportedly will 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. (PESN Feb. 22, 2010) (Comments)
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On February 23, 2010 8:14 PM Mountain, Clay Graner wrote:
Do you happen to know if the BloomBox can run on HHO as a fuel source? If it can it would depend on the demand for HHO as a fuel to keep it going. If the demand was fairly low then there may be enough electrical output to go closed loop and use some of the electricity for HHO fuel production and the remainder to be used for other electrical loads.
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Now lets turn the process around and use water as electrolyte and input power to the cell to produce HHO. How efficient is the cell for HHO production.
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Since one of the byproducts of this process is heat why don't they tie the system to the home HVAC to heat the house in the winter. Typically for this type of process 35 per cent of the potential energy could be captured as heat from the catalytic process. Overall this would greatly improve the overall efficiency.
On February 22, 2010 7:56 PM EST Lars5001 wrote:
I used to work for this company as a technician. It does work, and the only emissions are a small amount of water and waste heat. The only moving parts are a few valves that control oxygen and gas flow to the fuel cell stack, and a few small cooling fans.
On February 22, 2010 5:21 PM Mountain New Energy Congress member, Congress:Member:Richard George wrote:
It is just a fuel cell running natural gas with questionable economics. You have to pay a lot for the fuel cell plus pay for all of the natural gas it consumes. Even worse, most fuel cells have stacks whose life is measured in hours and months. The fuel cell stack costs as much as 60% of the total equipment cost that must be repaid every 6 months to 4 years. Totally uneconomic without subsidies and at best marginal with subsidies.
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On February 22, 2010 6:03 PM Mountain New Energy Congress member Congress:Member:Ken Rasmussen wrote:
It runs on natural gas. What's the big deal?
Big industry in California is spending millions of dollars to get AWAY from natural gas, NOT to become dependent on it.
On Feb. 23, 2010, Robert wrote:
IVE SEEN THE 60 MINUTES OR RATHER 10 MINUTES SHOW ON THE BLOOM BOX. WHILE IT WAS VERY INTRESTING I WAS SADDEND TO SE THAT IT USED FOSSIL FUEL. 400 MILLION ILL BET THERE ARE 400 INVENTORS OUT THERE THAT COULD USE 1 MILLION. AND OUT OF THE 400 IF 1 JUST ONE COULD PRODUCE THE SAME RESULT WITH NO FOSSIL FUEL. IN MY OPINION MONEY BETTER SPENT.I KNOW I KNOW.....IF! I CANT BELIEVE IT WEVE GONE TO THE MOON,MAPPED D N A,INSTANTLY TALK TO ALMOST ANYONE ANYWHERE AT ANY TIME AND YET WE STILL POWER ALL THIS COOL STUFF WITH FIRE. SORRY ABOUT MY RANT BUT GHEEEESH
On February 23, 2010 5:31 AM Mountain, New Energy Congress member, Congress:Member:Eric Krieg wrote:
When I saw the CBS program on the Bloom box, I got bad vibes. The company owner just struck me as a huckster - in his opening statements, he implied the cell alone would make all the energy as if it was a FE device. Then he implied that any sand could easily make the base material - I know there are many different kinds of sand with different minerals - that is just an over simplification. He said at one point that it would run on any kind of liquid fuel - again, that just isn't right. natural gas maybe, but other fuels have so many different kinds of compounds, you just can't react them all with out getting coatings on the active catalyst. I was a little suprised they weren't forthright with costs of the device, lifetimes, and power out and service costs. The box seemed way more complex than the cell where the magic happens. The website is not very forth coming.
I've known people who lost a lot of money investing on glorious sounding fuel cell claims from over 10 years ago. There is a big difference between science fair grade proof of concept and a viable reliable product that runs year in and year out.
As an engineer, I can vouch that there are many things you should expect to go wrong on first releases of new products that break a lot of new ground. I'd love for there to be a simple box that takes natural gas in and gives electricity out - I think we have to be ready for this to be farther off.
I am still glad the investment system works as far as investment money finding its way to real inventions with real science. There are basically hundreds of real companies working on break throughs related to solar cells, solar heating, battery technology, energy harvesting, bio diesel, wind power, etc. It is frustrating that it takes so much time and most of these simply won't work. It's still exciting to see the hope offered by so many legit efforts.
On February 23, 2010 2:26 PM Mountain, New Energy Congress member, Congress:Member:Hugh Cambell wrote:
There are several companies that already have working units and have had them for awhile and have shown cost savings. You can't argue with something that actually works and has been working on different sites for a reasonable amount of time. I think he is on to something and I am very interested in the units for residential use that are projected to be about $3K. Unless you have any documentation to show otherwise, I can't understand your reasoning. This is more than a lab curiosity. Several companies have working units on site, no one is asking the public for money, and in fact companies are wanting to buy the units. Are these companies being fleeced or have they found something that actually works? Google is even interested in selling electricity using these devices. I can't imagine these companies all being this interested in something that is a hoax. What you have stated in your e-mail is like you did not see the video and other sources of information that are readily available. Your statements and (vibes) are at odds with the information available. If you have documentation to support the contrary, I would ask that you post it or links to it. As much as I appreciate opinions, I appreciate facts much more. I understand being concerned about the many hoaxes that are out there but in this case it appears that the cat is out of the bag. If you still have concerns that this may be a hoax, I would suggest that you contact some of these companies and gather their complaints...if there are any.
Given $400+ million in funding from Kleiner Perkins and other A grade investors, it is not a hoax. We can safely assume the devices work. What we don't know is anything about either the life of the stacks (huge issue for fuel cells) or the economics of the units. We have no specifications documentation. We do not know the system capacity or fuel usage. The version currently available is large - at least 400 KW in capacity running 24x7x365. We do not know if these can run at variable output or if they need to be run 24x7x365 at full output (like the 250 KW Fuel Cell Energy and 200 KW UTC fuel cells). Any residential unit is years away from commericalization -- at least 3-5 years.
I am skeptical because I am familiar with their competition and all of the problems their competitors are having. Fuel Cell Energy lost ~$70 million last year despite being the industry leader. Bloom may never be profitable even if their technology works.
Even the cost savings touted is highly uncertain because so little information (including the underlying assumptions) is available. The savings might simply be the result of subsidies and free test units. I substantially doubt that the pilot customers paid anything close to list price for these - these were almost certainly highly subsidized so they could claim some high profile companies as customers. Furthermore, no one can make any statement about stack life until these have been running for 3+ years in individual installations. Several of their competitors have had stack failures at random between 6+ months and 36 months
Personally, I don't care for the marketing BS and hype when there is virtually none of the information a potential customer needs to make a purchase decision.
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