martes, 26 de mayo de 2015

Bloom Box: The Alternative Energy

What is an Energy Server?

Built with our patented solid oxide fuel cell technology, Bloom's Energy Server® is a new class of distributed power generator, producing clean, reliable, affordable electricity at the customer site.

Fuel cells are devices that convert fuel into electricity through a clean electro-chemical process rather than dirty combustion. They are like batteries except that they always run.

Our particular type of fuel cell technology is different than legacy "hydrogen" fuel cells in three main ways:
  1. Low cost materials – our cells use a common sand-like powder instead of precious metals like platinum or corrosive materials like acids.
  2. High electrical efficiency – we can convert fuel into electricity at nearly twice the rate of some legacy technologies
  3. Fuel flexibility – our systems are capable of using either renewable or fossil fuels
Each Bloom Energy Server provides 200kW of power, enough to meet the baseload needs of 160 average homes or an office building... day and night, in roughly the footprint of a standard parking space. For more power simply add more energy servers.

Energy Server Architecture
At the heart of every Energy Server® is Bloom's patented solid oxide fuel cell technology.

Each Energy Server consists of thousands of Bloom's fuel cells. Each cell is a flat solid ceramic square made from a common sand-like "powder."

Each Bloom Energy fuel cell is capable of producing about 25W... enough to power a light bulb. For more power, the cells are sandwiched, along with metal interconnect plates into a fuel cell "stack". A few stacks, together about the size of a loaf of bread, is enough to power an average home.

In an Energy Server, multiple stacks are aggregated together into a "power module", and then multiple power modules, along with a common fuel input and electrical output are assembled as a complete system.

For more power, multiple Energy Server systems can be deployed side by side.

In addition to Bloom's unmatched performance, this modular architecture offers...
  • easy and fast deployment
  • inherent redundancy for fault tolerance
  • high availability (one power module can be serviced while all others continue to operate)
  • mobility

Solid Oxide Fuel Cells
Fuel cells were invented over a century ago and have been used in practically every NASA mission since the 1960's, but until now, they have not gained widespread adoption because of their inherently high costs.

Legacy fuel cell technologies like

  • proton exchange membranes (PEMs), 
  • phosphoric acid fuel cells (PAFCs), and 
  • molten carbonate fuel cells (MCFCs), 

have all required expensive precious metals, corrosive acids, or hard to contain molten materials. Combined with performance that has been only marginally better than alternatives, they have not been able to deliver a strong enough economic value proposition to overcome the status quo.

Some makers of legacy fuel cell technologies have tried to overcome these limitations by offering combined heat and power (CHP) schemes to take advantage of their wasted heat. While CHP does improve the economic value proposition, it only really does so in environments with exactly the right ratios of heat and power requirements on a 24/7/365 basis. Everywhere else the cost, complexity, and customization of CHP tends to outweigh the benefits.

For decades, experts have agreed that solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs) hold the greatest potential of any fuel cell technology. With low cost ceramic materials, and extremely high electrical efficiencies, SOFCs can deliver attractive economics without relying on CHP. But until now, there were significant technical challenges inhibiting the commercialization of this promising new technology. SOFCs operate at extremely high temperature (typically above 800°C). This high temperature gives them extremely high electrical efficiencies, and fuel flexibility, both of which contribute to better economics, but it also creates engineering challenges.

Bloom has solved these engineering challenges. With breakthroughs in materials science, and revolutionary new design, Bloom's SOFC technology is a cost effective, all-electric solution.

Over a century in the making, fuel cells are finally clean, reliable, and most importantly, affordable.

ORIGINAL: Bloom Energy

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