That slightly larger loaf-of-bread-size object sitting in your back yard some day in the future is all you’ll need to generate enough electricity to power everything in your home including the AC, refrigerator, washing machine, dryer, and the lights. At least that’s the vision of the Bloom Energy CEO K. R. Sridhar, the cofounder of a heretofore secretive startup in California, who says every homeowner will be able to disconnect from the electrical grid using his technology. He says the Bloom Box for residential use will be available in about a decade for less than $3,000 and will pay for itself in a short period of time.
Just recently, the company had a coming-out event at the eBay facility in San Jose, attended by more than 300 people including the likes of California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger; the former secretary of state, Colin Powell, a board member of the company; and a host of executives from major U.S. companies, according to a recent article in the San Jose Mercury News. They were told that Bloom Energy plans to be the first company to provide affordable solid oxide fuel cells for commercial and residential use.
Bloom Energy’s patented solid oxide fuel cell technology uses a sand-like powder instead of expensive metals, enabling the cells to be produced more cheaply. Also, the company claims its cells provide a higher electrical efficiency than other comparable technologies. Furthermore, the energy servers are not limited to only one type of fuel and can operate around the clock in all weather conditions.
As noted on the company’s website (www.bloomenergy.com), the energy server is composed of many small fuel cells with each cell providing an output of about 25 W. Interconnecting the cells into several stacks will produce enough power for a single home.
We’ll have to wait a while to see if this technology lives up to all of its promises. Although other fuel sources can be used, currently the fuel is natural gas, which means every home would have to be connected to the gas mains, something that could detract from its total acceptance. But, on a brighter note, wouldn’t it be nice to be able to sell your unused electricity back to the grid?
Our New Website
Early last month we unveiled our new EE website, designed expressly for you, so you now can find the information you want in a very timely manner. The site (www.evaluationengineering.com) has a fresh new look and shows all the usual publication information such as Industry News, Featured Products, and Articles.
But you now have the capability to personalize the site as you wish. No need to visit several sub pages for certain information on a particular topic because there now is a microsite for each major editorial category including Instrumentation, ATE, Communications Test, and more. For example, both current and archived articles, news items, products, white papers, upcoming events, forums, and others specific just to Instrumentation now are contained on that microsite. If you’re only interested in Instrumentation, then it can be bookmarked, enabling you to view only this site when revisiting EE.
If you haven’t done so already, please check out the new EE website. I think you’ll like it. But your feedback is important to us. Please let me know your thoughts, both positive and negative. My e-mail address is listed below.