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Old 20-06-2010, 01:16   #1
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Bloom Black Box Fuel Cell

Has anyone tried to contact the gentleman that invented this system to see if an experimental installation on a boat could be arranged that anyone knows of?
Supposedly you put propane in one side and oxygen in the other, and it produces current. Several of the large computer companies are producing more power than they need for multiple building campuses, and the claimed efficiency is ground breaking stuff.
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Old 20-06-2010, 05:58   #2
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The inventor K.R. Sridhar, is funded by Kleiner Perkins.

Contact ➥ KPCB - Team

At $700,000 each, the Bloom Box seems a little expensive for my taste.
http://www.ecogeek.org/component/content/article/3079
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Old 20-06-2010, 06:26   #3
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$700,000.00 for the privilege of having propane, oxygen, and electricity all side by side? What a great idea! Lots of bang for the buck.
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Old 20-06-2010, 09:39   #4
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That 700,000$ box is running several buildings full of computers.
Go read the information. They recovered the theoretical cost of the box within two years.
They say it will not be long before a small box that is cheap will be available for home style needs and installs. The oxygen is taken from the air. Propane is all that is needed.
Don't take a one liner and make a decision.
If you go read, you will find that the price today is the al gore factor, since the boxes are very cheap to produce.
I did not read a one liner and comment about this. Go read about the installs already in place.
Many big corporations are trying to slam the product because of one reason. It makes the grid completely obsolete, for about a tenth of what the grid costs. The developer says that within a few years, you will be able to buy a small home sized unit for cheap.
The GUV and big business is reacting to that idea in a very predictable manner. They do not want people to be able to live off the grid in any numbers.
From one of the sites GordMay linked.
"Bloom (very optimistically) wants to shrink its box (in size and cost) so that every American can have one in their basement for around $3000."
What is not to be liked in a device that provides electricity off the grid for a lot cheaper than it is available on the grid, even if you are sitting in the middle of a wilderness or on a boat in the middle of the ocean. . What is not to be liked by stopping the pollution created by power plants?
How many of you have more than 3000$ invested in the power on your boat?
The small box is a reality, not some fiction that may happen someday.
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Old 20-06-2010, 10:15   #5
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Look what happened to the Tesla Motor Company Engineers......
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Old 20-06-2010, 10:20   #6
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Maybe the Mark II version will include a sense of humor.
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Old 20-06-2010, 10:52   #7
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I just read the other fuel cell thread.
Such a cell, with the methane output routed into a Bloom Box, would be a very interesting experiment. Current on the production of the methane, and then current produced by the methane, while consuming our trash and wastes.
True story.
Years ago, they created a land fill off highway 21 south of St. Louis. They closed the landfill and years later, all of the trees across the highway started to die. After a lot of shouting, several groups met at the scene of the crime to discuss it. A person I knew, named Lee, told them they were full of crud. He walked out into his yard and drove a pipe down into an old stump. He then lit the top of the pipe with his lighter to demonstrate the gas coming out of the ground. It burned 24 hours a day for months.
The Bloom Box promises the ability to create such methane farms to contain/process our wastes, and to then convert the methane directly to electric without producing any smoke or serious pollutants.
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Old 20-06-2010, 11:10   #8
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Nothing new about generating methane from waste. For years methane has been captured from landfills and a number of agribusiness operations have used the manure generated to make methane.

The problem is the volume and infrastucture required to generate and distribute the methane or propane. Would have to do some research on whether or not there is sufficient propane capacity to supply home generators but the supply of methane from landfills and animal waste to supply any significant percentage of US energy needs is off by an order of magnitude or more. Just like making biodiesel from veg oil, it would require a farm larger than Montana to grow enough soybeans to supply 5-10% of the US requirements.

Not saying that it is not a good idea. It could be one part of an overall, multifaceted plan to reduce consumption of energy generated from fossil fuels. But it ain't no magic bullet to supply the world.
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Old 20-06-2010, 11:47   #9
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Most homes in this area already have propane tanks installed. I have a 500 gallon tank myself. We heat our home and do our cooking with propane. I burn about 600 gallons a year.
I pay the electric company over 100$ a month for electric, while I use part of that electric to run an aerator pump to provide an aerobic chamber to process what comes out of the anaerobic side of the septic tank.
With a Bloom Box, it is entirely possible that I could run my home off the methane produced in my septic tank, or provide at least a large part of my energy needs without using any more propane than I do now.
All that would require, would be optimizing the tank to produce methane, rather than having it optimized to reduce methane output.
I would suspect after reading about the Bloom Box results Google got, that a home in the middle of nowhere could generate enough power to handle all of the needed systems off their own septic tank.
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Old 20-06-2010, 11:54   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ahnlaashock View Post
Most homes in this area already have propane tanks installed. I have a 500 gallon tank myself. We heat our home and do our cooking with propane. I burn about 600 gallons a year.
I pay the electric company over 100$ a month for electric, while I use part of that electric to run an aerator pump to provide an aerobic chamber to process what comes out of the anaerobic side of the septic tank.
With a Bloom Box, it is entirely possible that I could run my home off the methane produced in my septic tank, or provide at least a large part of my energy needs without using any more propane than I do now.
All that would require, would be optimizing the tank to produce methane, rather than having it optimized to reduce methane output.
I would suspect after reading about the Bloom Box results Google got, that a home in the middle of nowhere could generate enough power to handle all of the needed systems off their own septic tank.
Have you done the calculations to verify this. How about posting the results for the rest of us to see.

1. Cu ft of methane or propane required by the Bloom box to produce 1 KWH of electricity.

2. Typical cu ft of methane produced by a home septic tank.
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Old 20-06-2010, 13:43   #11
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No, I have not.
Last time I checked, Bloom had not posted those numbers.
I am going off the numbers those experimenting with the boxes are stating. They are much cheaper than purchased electric to run.
""This is just another on-site renewable energy source that we're exploring to help power our facilities," she added. "We have a 400-kilowatt [Bloom Box] installation on Google's main campus that delivers clean and affordable power. Over the first 18 months, the project has had 98% availability and delivered 3.8 million kilowatt hours of electricity."
Bloom's Energy Server is a parking-space-sized device that uses fuel cell technology to generate 100 kilowatts of power using almost any type of fuel, promising the potential for reliable, zero-emission energy generation.

eBay has been running five Bloom Boxes on its campus in San Jose for seven months; while the company is currently using natural gas to power them, the company's green team director, Amy Skoczlas Cole, explained that eBay has almost finished the process to use biogas to power the boxes.
"First point: The box has a 3-5 year payback period, and fixed energy prices for the next ten years.- Second point: the carbon footprint is 50% cleaner than the grid and 100% renewable.
- Third point: 24/7/365 power with always-on modular architecture. If a box or unit has to be fixed, it will still generate power, like a server farm."


I spend 1200$ a year on electric. Using the twice as efficient statement, that means I can run my house on 600$ a year, or about 300 gallons of propane for the most expensive path. If Biogas or natural gas is used, it is even cheaper.

I am quite sure I could recover 300 gallons of methane off a septic system optimized to produce methane, rather than optimized to prevent it. If not, I could still generate the lion's share of the needed fuel.

Guys, I don't know much about sailboats, but I am not dumb. I don't post other peoples claims about such things without researching them. The Ebay statement of 3-5 years to recover costs would be pretty close. On the Google server campus, it took 18 months, according to a statement a year ago. That statement is contradicted by the quotes I just posted.

Using Google's statement that they had produced 3,800,000 million kilowatt hours does not jive with the paid off in 18 months statement I read in an earlier interview, so I am assuming that the initial cost was less than what has been settled on today as the price, or that the early estimates were too optimistic.

At the current rates here in Missouri, they would be on track for a five year pay off also. Using the rates Ameren is attempting to have approved, about half of the initial investment is covered by the first 18 months use.

Worst case seems to be a 50 percent reduction in current costs, 50 percent reduction in pollution from generation, and a five year pay off on the equipment.


Back to my home. At a savings of 600$ a year, the pay off on a 3000$ box is dead on the five year estimate, and that is using propane, one of the most expensive options. That is not using LED's or any of the other energy savings methods to cut my needs. In a remote location, or on a boat already optimized for energy conservation, I am quite sure a septic system could provide the fuel needed.
That 50 percent cheaper and 50 percent cleaner estimate is a worst case scenario, using the most polluting and most expensive fuel options.

Do a search and run the numbers yourself.
By the way, some of the numbers do not make sense, so there is a disconnect somewhere. They say a 3 to 5 year payoff.
4 boxes times 700,000 = 2.8 million. They say the generated 3.8 million KW h with thoise four boxes in 18 months. 4.5 years, 11.4 million KW h still puts you well outside the cost of purchasing that same amount from Ameren.
.09 times 11,400,000 = 1,026,000$, at Ameren's proposed price.
Either Google paid significantly less than 700k for each box, or power costs a lot more in Sunny Cal than it does here. Using the 700k published price, we would be talking closer to a ten year pay off here.
The math works for the home unit.
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