Bloom Energy traces its roots to work performed by Dr. K.R. Sridhar,
Bloom founder and Chief Executive Officer, in connection with creating a
technology to convert Martian atmospheric gases to oxygen for
propulsion and life support. Dr. Sridhar and his team built a fuel cell
capable of producing air and fuel from electricity generated by a solar
panel. They soon realized that their technology could have an even greater impact here on Earth. In 2001, when their project ended, the team decided to continue their
research and start a company. Originally called Ion America, Bloom
Energy, was founded with the mission to make clean, reliable energy
affordable for everyone on earth. In 2002, John Doerr, and Kleiner Perkins became the first investors
in the company. Kleiner Perkins was legendary for its early backing of
other industry changing companies, like Google, Amazon.com, Netscape,
and Genentech, but Bloom was its first clean tech investment. In fact,
at that time, clean tech was not even really a word. With financing in place, the team packed three U-hauls and headed to
NASA Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley to set up shop. Over the
next few years, the technology quickly developed from concept, to
prototype, to product, as the major technological challenges were solved
and the systems became more powerful, more efficient, more reliable,
and more economical. In early 2006 Bloom shipped its first 5kW field trial unit to the
University of Tennessee, Chattanooga. After two years of successful
field trials in Tennessee, California, and Alaska, to validate the
technology, the first commercial (100kW) products were shipped to
Google in July 2008. Since that time Bloom's Energy Servers have helped our customers
generate millions of kWhs of electricity and eliminate millions of
pounds of CO2 from the environment. From humble beginnings on Mars, Bloom Energy is now changing the Earth for the better.
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:
Low cost materials – our cells use a common sand-like powder instead of precious
metals like platinum or corrosive materials like acids.
High electrical efficiency – we can convert fuel into electricity at nearly twice the rate of some legacy technologies
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
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)
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
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
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. Click here to see how a Solid Oxide Fuel Cell works.
Clean Energy: Bloom Energy delivers Better Electrons™
All electrons are not created equal. Only Bloom Energy
delivers electrons that are clean and reliable at the same time… and
just for you. That makes them better electrons.
Bloom Energy generates clean, reliable power onsite with minimal
environmental impact, making the Bloom Energy Server one of the most
sustainable solutions on the market today. When compared to alternative
sources, Bloom delivers superior results, whether sustainability is
measured in terms of greenhouse gas emissions reductions, avoided air
pollutants, reduced water use, small physical footprint, quiet
operation, recyclability, high efficiency — or all of the above. Higher Efficiency
Bloom Energy Servers convert natural gas or renewable biogas
into electricity using a direct electrochemical reaction rather than
combustion. This highly efficient process is not bound by the same
thermodynamic constraints1 for creating electricity, and thus
enables exceptionally high conversion efficiency. Today, Bloom ships
systems with an industry-leading 60+ percent electrical efficiency,
based on the lower heating value (LHV) of the fuel — a figure that has
increased markedly since our first commercial shipments in 2008. Looking
forward, we see a clear pathway to deliver even higher efficiency.
By contrast, the average coal-fired power plant — with over a
century of R&D behind it — converts only 33 percent of its energy
input into electricity.2 Yet because no one wants a coal
plant in their "backyard", this electricity must be transported over
hundreds of miles of power lines, which lose a part of the produced
power — anywhere from 7 - 10 percent in the developed world, and up to
50 percent3 in developing economies. Since Bloom Energy
Servers typically generate power at the customer's site, energy is
generated & provided directly where it is needed, thus avoiding
these losses altogether.
As the world transitions to a renewable energy future, the
most sustainable pathway is to consume our precious resources more
efficiently. It's also smarter — fuel savings mean saving money. Virtually no Smog Forming Particulates
Bloom Energy Servers convert fuel into delivered electricity at the
highest level of efficiency amongst commercially available technologies.
Greater efficiency means less fuel consumed to produce the same output
of electricity and that lower fuel consumption corresponds to less CO2
emitted. Even when compared to the most advanced, centralized combined
cycle gas turbine power plants, Bloom has higher delivered electricity
efficiency and therefore a lower CO2 footprint.
The flexibility of the Bloom Energy Server allows customers to
dramatically reduce their carbon emissions while continuing to power
their operations reliably. When fueled with biogas, the Bloom Energy
Server provides 100 percent carbon neutral power generation. When
powered by natural gas, it releases a fraction of the CO2
produced by coal-fired plants or even modern combined cycle natural gas
plants, when one accounts for line losses (as recommended by regulators)
. As businesses prepare for a carbon-constrained future, the Bloom
Energy Server offers an elegant and flexible solution to meet a
customer's sustainability needs.
Low CO2 Emissions
Because Bloom uses solid oxide fuel cell technology that
converts fuel into electricity via an electrochemical reaction rather
than combustion, Bloom Energy Servers virtually eliminate smog forming
particulates and harmful NOx and SOx emissions that are emitted by
conventional power plants. These invisible emissions cause smog, asthma,
and harm human health5. Bloom Servers also generate only a
fraction of the carbon dioxide produced by a conventional modern power
plant equipped with the best available control technology (BACT) — the
US EPA's benchmark. Land Savings
Large centralized power plants, whether they are gas fired, wind,
solar or hydropower, require large land areas far from most population
centers. The electricity they produce is diminished through
transmission and distribution losses. The Bloom Energy Server, on the
other hand, is a compact solution with units occupying only a slightly
larger footprint than a parking space. They are located onsite —
eliminating T&D losses — and are well-suited for urban environments.
Bloom Energy Servers also deliver extraordinary water savings.
Bloom's technology uses no water beyond a 240-gallon injection at start
up. By comparison, the average U.S. coal plant uses 1.07 million
gallons per 200 kW annually; and combined cycle natural gas plants use
648,240 gallons per 200 kW annually. A supermarket powered by a 200 kW
Bloom Energy Server saves more than 1 million gallons a year.
Additionally, the simple, modular, building-block architecture is
easy to install and easy to buy. As your energy needs grow, Bloom can
grow with you, all the while delivering clean, reliable electricity —the
benefits of Better ElectronsTM.
Changing the Face of Energy
Bloom Energy is changing the way the world generates and consumes energy.
Our unique on-site power generation systems utilize an innovative new fuel cell technology with roots in NASA's Mars program.
Derived from a common sand-like powder, and leveraging
breakthrough advances in materials science, our technology is able to
produce clean, reliable,
affordable power,... practically anywhere,... from a
wide range of renewable or traditional fuels.
Our Energy Servers™ are among the most efficient energy
generators on the planet; providing for significantly reduced
electricity costs and
dramatically lower greenhouse gas emissions.
By generating power on-site, where it is consumed, Bloom Energy
offers increased electrical reliability and improved energy security,
providing a clear path
to energy independence.
Founded in 2001, Bloom Energy is headquartered in Sunnyvale, California.
1299 Orleans Drive
Sunnyvale, California 94089 View in Google Maps Telephone: (408) 543-1500 Fax: (408) 543-1501 Web: www.bloomenergy.com
Bloom Energy is a private company and is not listed on any publicly traded exchanges.