24 February 2010 – The Bloom is being unveiled this week in San Jose, USA, a revolutionary product that promises to put an energy generator in every home. This could revolutionise the entire energy system away from grids and central generation at utilities.
The systems has been tested over a period of 18 months by Google, eBay and logistics group FedEx.
What distinguishes the Bloom Box from other fuel cell technologies being developed across the globe is its scalability and its cost. The basic premise of the technology is that it would allow many communities to simply do away with utilities and power grids altogether, at an affordable rate.
The Bloom, it seems, came from an idea developed in planning for the US Mars Mission, when K R Sridhar developed a device that would create oxygen and water on the planet. When that mission was ditched by NASA, Sridhar decided to reverse the process and use oxygen and another fuel to create energy. As stories go, that’s about as good as it gets.
The Bloom Boxes to be unveiled this week are said to cost around $800,000 a unit. Four of them have been used to power a Google data centre for the past 18 months and eBay is reported to have saved $100,000 in energy costs in a single year from using three units.
Sridhar told 60 Minutes and Fortune this week that he hoped to release a household-sized device that costs around $3000 within a few years
Eight years of development, some $US400 million of investments and some very big reputations depend on its success. It was venture capitalists Kleiner Perkins’ first investment in greentech after the dot.com boom and bust, and the company is said to be counting on Bloom to deliver its first major cleantech winner.