Fuel cells are one of the disruptive technologies that, at an appropriate cost can enable a further shift towards highly efficient distributed energy generation along with solar and wind renewable energy sources.
Through technological innovation, fuel cells concept is coming closer to commercialization, at much faster rate than anticipated earlier.
One of the main benefit of fuel cells energy products that offer to consumers, the ability to generate power efficiently in their homes and businesses, giving them more control over their energy use while reducing demands on the electricity grid.
Some of the Energy Servers Installation (Images Credit: Bloom Energy)
Bloom Energy, headquartered in Sunnyvale, California, aims to lead the energy industry away from a traditional ‘hub and spoke’ network to a clean, distributed, and more reliable energy model.
Bloom Energy founded by KR Sridhar in 2001, makes fuel cells based energy generating product called ‘Energy Server’ that generates energy through a chemical reaction from both natural gas and biogas, which is made from methane that is collected from decomposing organic matter like a landfill.
The company has sold their Energy Servers to large retailers and tech companies like Home Depot, Wal-Mart, Apple, eBay, and Google.
KR Sridhar, Founder, Chairman, and CEO of Bloom Energy
Images Credit: Bloom Energy
Morgan Stanley and Bloom Energy have completed the fuel cell project at Morgan Stanley's global headquarters in New York City's Times Square neighborhood. The 750 kW fuel cell project at 1585 Broadway is fully operational and will provide approximately 6 million kWh of clean electricity each year, says company’s press release.
Morgan Stanley’s headquarters (Image Credit: Bloom Energy)
“We are thrilled to be here today. This project not only provides clean and reliable electricity at Morgan Stanley’s headquarters, but also demonstrates how this unique type of behind-the-meter clean energy project can be deployed in urban load centers to reduce carbon emissions, greatly reduce localized forms of air pollution, and improve the efficiency of the surrounding electric grid,” said KR Sridhar, Founder, Chairman and CEO of Bloom Energy.
Bloom Energy builds large stationary fuel cells ‘Energy Server’, using Solid Oxide Regenerative Fuel Cells (SOFC) technologies. Each Bloom Energy Server provides 250 kilowatts of power — 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days a year.
How does Energy Server work?
It’s a collection of fuel cells that use oxygen and fuel to create electricity with no emissions. They’re made of sand that is baked into diskette-sized ceramic squares and painted with green and black ink.
Each fuel cell has the potential to power one light bulb. The fuel cells are stacked into brick-sized towers sandwiched with metal alloy plates.
Credit: Bloom Energy
The fuel cell stacks are housed in a refrigerator-sized unit. Oxygen is drawn into one side of the unit, and fuel (fossil fuel, biofuel, or even solar power can be used) is fed into the other side. The two combine within the cell and produce a chemical reaction that creates energy with no burning, no combustion, and no power lines.
Their unique on-site power generation systems utilize an innovative new fuel cell technology with roots in NASA's Mars program.
Bloom Energy is backed by investors including some of the world’s most well-known venture capitalists. The company’s board includes Colin Powell, AOL founder Steve Case, and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers partner John Doerr.
Bloom Energy currently has over 400 projects across the United States, Japan, and India, including twenty-one operating projects in New York State.
(Source: Bloom Energy)