Silicon Valley company Bloom Energy revealed its heavily hyped and closely guarded solid oxide fuel cell on Wednesday, heralding the technology as a likely clean-tech game-changer.
Years in the making, the Bloom Energy Server can generate electricity using air and a wide range of renewable or traditional fuels through an electro-chemical process, rather than combustion.
Even more than solar and wind power – which Sunnyvale-based Bloom said can be intermittent – the new fuel cell could revolutionize fuel sources by offering clean, affordable and reliable energy, the company said. The technology can run all day, and customers can earn back the $700,000 to $800,000 cost within five years through utility bill savings.
Several major companies, including FedEx, Google, Staples and Wal-Mart, have already begun testing the technology. The trial runs have so far produced more than 11 million kilowatt-hours of energy while cutting 14 million pounds of carbon dioxide emissions, Bloom said