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Whatever happened to the Bloom Box? « Utilities « Industry Applications
 
Tue, 21 Feb 2012, 3:51pm #1
unipres
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I haven't been able to find any articles/news positive or negative about the thing in 2011 much less 2012. It seems like a rather big deal to just fade out so suddenly without any collateral damage. What gives?


I do not debate to prove you are wrong, but rather to test that my convictions live up to your scrutiny. --me

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Tue, 21 Feb 2012, 4:27pm #2
hoarybat
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Hmm too bad cuz the founder said he had many refinements cost/price reductions and a potential home version in the pipe. 1-2 years later and not much news?


Lensman Scale: 2 taking too long based on earlier promise/claims.

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Tue, 21 Feb 2012, 4:31pm #3
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with the price of natural gas coming down, i thought bloom would be awesome...we need an update on this.


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Tue, 21 Feb 2012, 4:43pm #4
seslaprime
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Adobe Installs Two 200 kW Bloom Energy Server Fuel Cells at its San Francisco Offices

http://www.fuelcelltoday.com/news-events/news-a...

Another update

http://1x57.com/2012/02/06/bloom-energy-an-upda...

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Tue, 21 Feb 2012, 4:49pm #5
seslaprime
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and a recent interview with Bloom Energy‘s Director of Product Marketing, Asim Hussain.

http://www.freshdialogues.com/2012/01/23/bloom-...

And Finally, Bloom Energy is Hiring

http://www.linkedin.com/jobs/jobs-Vice-Presiden...

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Tue, 21 Feb 2012, 4:56pm #6
seslaprime
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Looks to me like Bloom energy is quietly expanding and leasing/installing servers everywhere.

http://www.fuelcelltoday.com/news-events/news-a...

Estimated IP Value....$3 billion.

I would say Bloom energy has become a big success story.

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Tue, 21 Feb 2012, 5:37pm #7
unipres
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seslaprime wrote:

Looks to me like Bloom energy is quietly expanding and leasing/installing servers everywhere.

http://www.fuelcelltoday.com/news-events/news-a...

Estimated IP Value....$3 billion.

I would say Bloom energy has become a big success story.

Thanks for the links seslaprime. I guess to me if they have already done the "reveal" then the act of quietly expanding does not bode well for the idea that this is a revolutionary/disruptive technology. Perhaps I'm just projecting some of my EEStor disappointment? The projects mentioned look more like they are using the Bloom Box as a green marketing tool than a way to provide economic, grid free power.


I do not debate to prove you are wrong, but rather to test that my convictions live up to your scrutiny. --me

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Tue, 21 Feb 2012, 5:54pm #8
seslaprime
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Well the bloombox is a cheap method of generating green electrons from NG without combustion. so the concept is sound. NG is probably the cheapest form of fuel available. it is the cost of the bloombox itself that probably is throwing off the euphoria.

I think Bloom needs to focus on Leasing Large expensive servers for corporate and large buildings to try and recover the R&D costs.

Once they get "rolling" so to speak, we should see cost effective small home units rolling off the assembly line. it is then we will start to see the real benefits of Bloom energy.

Once we can purchase a Furnace sized unit, that cost about the same ~$800-$1200, that produces 10-20 KW continuous from NG, we will than have arrived.

I would like to see a consumption value for a given output. i.e. How much NG to produce x amount of electricity. this will tell the tale for sure.

So the Bloom energy story is far from over.

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Tue, 21 Feb 2012, 6:12pm #9
Prof Neilson
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If Bloom is doing so well - where is the IPO?

They have raised $600 million. $150 million raised in September 2011.

Growing companies need cash - but......

"A single 100 kw box, which generates enough electricity to power 100 average homes, costs between $700,000 and $800,000 — without subsidies. Lux Research figures without incentives, electricity generated from the Bloom boxes would cost $0.13 kilowatt per hour to $0.14/KWh. That’s $0.03/KWh more expensive than the average retail U.S. electricity costs, according to Lux. When incentives are including the total lifecycle cost of electricity over 10 years is $0.08 kilowatt per hour, according to Bloom Energy."

Oh - the usual answer - its too expensive except in California with its electric rates straight from Governor Moonbeam.

$8 capital cost a watt is twice the cost of US nuclear at $4 a watt. All this cost and its a CO2 source too!

How long does a Bloom Box last anyway?

http://www.smartplanet.com/blog/intelligent-ene...

Last edited Tue, 21 Feb 2012, 6:22pm by Prof Neilson


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Tue, 21 Feb 2012, 8:04pm #10
teslafan49
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Seslaprime, yes, thanks for the links. But the way I see it, they are either inflating the expectations, or they need to fire their head of marketing. If it works like they've claimed, it should be selling like cold water in the middle of the Sahara.


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Tue, 21 Feb 2012, 9:57pm #11
seslaprime
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I agree, the bloombox itself today is not anywhere near cost effective. it will need to come down in price by about 70% - 80% for a Home sized device.

This could happen through mass production. but others are out there making fuel cells as well.

The idea and technology is sound. but it could be another killer idea that is over thought into oblivion.

Sometimes good ideas are just handled by the wrong people.

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Tue, 21 Feb 2012, 10:10pm #12
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another california company making and selling fuels cells is clear edge power- these are home sized units of 5kw. Still too expensive and the sofc (solid oxide fuel cells) run at very high temps limiting their life span. But some "early adopters" are trying them. For more info go to
Clearedgepower.com

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Wed, 22 Feb 2012, 2:23am #13
eeinterested
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They mentioned a home unit for about $3k at one point, with mass production, and not a done deal. He mentioned having to create a whole supply chain for a product that had not been mass produced. Sounds a bit like EEStor's problem.

The pricing is high for now, but I'll bet they are at full capacity. It will come down as efficiency goes up, and the market will broaden.

Like all new things, they start out high priced, it will come down. This is a killer app with all the new natural gas and the coming EVs. Paired with an EESU for peak loads in a home unit setup, this is a game changer. For a new house, no electric line, just a gas line, screw the electric company. It probably runs on propane as well. This makes a lot of land more practical to develop; often running electricity to the site is a major expense. This could get you off grid without the expensive battery systems, diesel generator, etc.

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Wed, 22 Feb 2012, 4:23am #14
Mark
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Bloom is founded on the idea that it can get its technology through 3 or 4 iterations and thereby get into a profitable business.

They would probably still be losing money on each kw generated.

Mark

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Fri, 02 Mar 2012, 11:10am #15
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http://www.macrumors.com/2012/03/02/apples-opti...

While Apple has received a fair amount of attention for its planned solar farm at its massive data center in Maiden, North Carolina, the company publicly disclosed less than two weeks ago that it will also be installing the largest non-utility fuel cell farm in the United States to help power the facility.
GigaOm has assessed Apple's options for the 5-megawatt facility, determining that Bloom Energy appears to be Apple's partner in the project. Bloom, which is based in Sunnyvale, California near Apple's headquarters, is also said to already have "a few" of its fuel cells in operation on Apple's campus.
Bloom offers boxes capable of supplying 100 kW, which could translate into 50 Bloom Boxes being installed at Apple’s data center. Bloom has been in negotiations for similarly large-sized deals in the past, such as its negotiations in Delaware to build a 30 MW fuel cell farm (300 Bloom Boxes), and it has already installed 12 Bloom Boxes at Adobe’s campus in San Jose, Calif.

Apple is also touting the fact that its fuel cells will be run on biogas, and Bloom has substantial experience selling biogas-based fuel cells. Both Adobe and eBay are running their Bloom fuel cells on biogas. Bloom has also been the go-to fuel cell maker for Internet, telecom and computing giants’ experiments with fuel cells.
The report notes that Apple's options for fuel cell partners are relatively few, with UTC Power's larger fuel cell boxes not cleanly adding up to Apple's stated 5-megawatt capacity for the facility and FuelCell Energy specifically denying that it is working with Apple.

Apple is clearly interested in pursuing alternative energy sources for its facilities, and data centers are popular laboratories for such projects given their energy requirements and their typically rural locations that make it cheaper to dedicate land to energy production. The company already touts that its facilities in Austin, Sacramento, Munich, and Cork are powered by 100% renewable energy sources as part of a broad effort to reduce minimize its environmental impact across its facilities and throughout its products' life cycles.

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