Is the Bloom Box energy nirvana?

A Silicon Valley inventor claims that a new technology called the Bloom Box will revolutionize how households use the electrical grid. The Bloom Box is a fuel cell that converts oxygen and an energy source – natural gas, biofuels, or even solar – into electricity. K.R. Sridhar, former NASA scientist and founder of Bloom Energy, revealed the technology Sunday night on “60 Minutes,” and plans to hold a news conference Wednesday in San Jose. He envisions every house having a Bloom Box power plant installed in the back yard.

Google, eBay, and FedEx are currently testing the Bloom Box. The prototype devices are the size of refrigerators and cost around $700,000. eBay claims the Bloom Box saved the company $100,000 in annual energy costs. Details on operating and maintenance costs, however, are sketchy. Fuel cell technology has been around for a long time. It normally requires precious metals such as platinum, making it too expensive for widespread applications. Bloom Box fuel cells are constructed instead with ceramic wafers coated with a special ink.

If Sridhar has truly discovered a way to make fuel cells affordable, it will transform the electrical grid. If not, the Bloom Box could be a bust.

Read the article: Bloom Box: Segway or savior?

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