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February 22nd, 2010
It's a shiny box with a whole lot of mystery that's receiving a whole lot of attention this week. The "Bloom Box" a roughly cubic structure has already been embraced by eBay, Google, Staples, FedEx, and Walmart, which extol its savings. But is the new box the solution to all of mankind energy problems or a snake oil remedy for the world's fossil fuel habit?
In an exclusive interview on the CBS television program 60 Minutes, company K.R. Sridhar, CEO of Bloom Energy, gave the public a tantalizing first peak at the secret alternative energy device. And on Wednesday, he will follow that performance up with a major public announcement in Silicon Valley, which will play host to such distinguished guests as Colin Powell, California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, and a host of prominent venture capitalists.
So what is a Bloom Box exactly? Well, $700,000 to $800,000 will buy you a "corporate sized" unit. Inside the box are a unique kind of fuel cell consisting of ceramic disks coated with green and black "inks". The inks somehow transform a stream of methane (or other hydrocarbons) and oxygen into power, when the box heats up to its operating temperature of 1,000 degrees Celsius.
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