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Old 13-01-2015, 20:49   #1
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bloom box fuel cell

Dr. K.R. Sridhar founded what is now Bloom Energy based on fuel cell work he did for NASA.

Now he has a very inexpensive to build fuel cell which measures about 4"x4"x4" which is capable of powering a European house, 2 of those can power a typical American house. Currently he's only selling $100K units to big Silicon Valley companies, but eventually he'll have a Honda 2000 sized unit that burns natural gas and produces water and unlimited electricity. Most of the internals will be dedicated to inverting the power. If one needed 12v, the unit would be much smaller.

Imagine one of those units about the size of a car battery producing all of the 12v power you needed on your boat!

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Old 13-01-2015, 21:01   #2
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Re: bloom box fuel cell

They tech he's selling is widely known about in fuel cell circles, There's a large amount of skepticism that the devices hes selling can be scaled down. I understand there's also serious efficiency hits when stepping outside of gas/liquid configuration the cell is built to take.

Still most fuel cell problems are around materials and much work is being done there, Alot of these sorts of products either have scale up or scale down problems
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Old 13-01-2015, 21:06   #3
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Re: bloom box fuel cell

My understanding was that most fuel cells used platinum or some other rare metals as a catalyst. He's not using any expensive materials in his fuel cell, claiming all of it is readily available in beach sand.

I'd love to see something similar to the Efoy fuel cell, but using propane instead. I imagine you could get far more power out of propane per gallon.
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Old 13-01-2015, 21:11   #4
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Re: bloom box fuel cell

Depends on what kind of cell your talking about but even so catalysts aren't consumed so while use rare materials drive up the capital cost the operational cost isn't increased

At the mo i think the business case outside of being seen to be green requires these cells to last 10+ years which is an unknown at this point and why bloom is sell power rather than sell fuel cells these days
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Old 14-01-2015, 09:40   #5
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Re: bloom box fuel cell

There is still a long way to go and lots of problems to be solved.
Efoy Cell is very expensive compared to other alternatives. Lotīs of unresolved hassles in ref to maintanace and where to buy the methanol cartridges for a very expensive price. Aparently they donīt like me to use my own methanol.
Also capacities are small for my requirements

Since energy is vital on board I still think solar panels and a decent diesel gen are the most reliable and cheap choice.

Till now the arguments could not convince me of the opposite
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Old 14-01-2015, 10:30   #6
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Re: bloom box fuel cell

All true, for the moment. I'm just hoping we'll see a fairly inexpensive, extremely efficient fuel cell in the near future. After all, this Bloom box has broken the mold by not using any exotic materials.

Hopefully we'll soon see graphene RO filters pumping out filtered water at 15 psi and bringing water maker prices down to a few hundred $$. Technology marches on!
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Old 14-01-2015, 10:32   #7
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Re: bloom box fuel cell

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There is still a long way to go and lots of problems to be solved.
Efoy Cell is very expensive compared to other alternatives. Lotīs of unresolved hassles in ref to maintanace and where to buy the methanol cartridges for a very expensive price. Aparently they donīt like me to use my own methanol.
Also capacities are small for my requirements

Since energy is vital on board I still think solar panels and a decent diesel gen are the most reliable and cheap choice.

Till now the arguments could not convince me of the opposite
No, problem. I'm old and a sure source of methane. Would that work in place of methanol. Just pulling your leg. I think you nailed it with what is economical today. I'd like to see a low priced cell with silica being to major component. Show me.
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Old 14-01-2015, 11:03   #8
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Re: bloom box fuel cell

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No, problem. I'm old and a sure source of methane. Would that work in place of methanol. Just pulling your leg. I think you nailed it with what is economical today. I'd like to see a low priced cell with silica being to major component. Show me.
Investigated the subject fuelcells because I was excited about the idear.
The mayor disadvantage for me is thinking that I might get some watts during the whole day but not on a short demand to help my batteries to cope with high power demand.
Just think of running an AC etc...a generator produces power on the spot while also charging my batteries.
A fuelcell as available today can not do that and my batteries are dead.
A good sized solar system and batterie bank will do the same thing with no headache.
So whatīs the use ?
In case of little space I would use Lithium batteries that I can discharge all the way and high (+20%) efficiency Solar panels conected with a portable gen set
No noise ???...well great but that does not solve the problem
For that reason I have decided to waiste no further time on the subject unless there is mayor progress in technology AVAILABLE
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Old 14-01-2015, 12:28   #9
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Re: bloom box fuel cell

The segment is from 1971. I though Leslie Stahl looked awfully young.
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Old 14-01-2015, 12:42   #10
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Re: bloom box fuel cell

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Originally Posted by socaldmax View Post
Dr. K.R. Sridhar founded what is now Bloom Energy based on fuel cell work he did for NASA.

Now he has a very inexpensive to build fuel cell which measures about 4"x4"x4" which is capable of powering a European house, 2 of those can power a typical American house. Currently he's only selling $100K units to big Silicon Valley companies, but eventually he'll have a Honda 2000 sized unit that burns natural gas and produces water and unlimited electricity. Most of the internals will be dedicated to inverting the power. If one needed 12v, the unit would be much smaller.

Imagine one of those units about the size of a car battery producing all of the 12v power you needed on your boat!
Only ~64 or 128 cubic inches to supply what, about 800 or 1600Kwh/mo, of 220/110AC? $100K each seems a bit high though.
(I seem to be using around 55Kwh/day according to my home light bill)

That would make a heckuva genset.
Why not, we've gotten a lot higher energy density from small nuclear generators. Such as used on spacecraft, and those that the Russki's used for various Arctic navigation devices, etc., (and pose major risks and cleanup problems terrestrially).

I'll bite when Costco has 'em for under $1K.
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Old 14-01-2015, 13:19   #11
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Re: bloom box fuel cell

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The segment is from 1971.
No, actually it is from 2010. At least, according to the 60 Minutes website. The company was only formed in 2002, and Sridhar was born in 1960. I don't think he looks like he is 11 years old in that video.

Still, that's 5 years ago now. And the company still only produces large, expensive fuel cells for industrial users. So the grand promise hasn't come true. At least, not yet.

I suspect that fuel cells will be the way of the future. But at this point they are still very much a "wait and see" technology. There is no indication that they will be anything but a "wait and see" technology for some time to come.

Maybe some day, but if it happens in my lifetime it will probably be when I'm too old to care anymore.
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Old 14-01-2015, 13:28   #12
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Re: bloom box fuel cell

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No, actually it is from 2010. At least, according to the 60 Minutes website. The company was only formed in 2002, and Sridhar was born in 1960. I don't think he looks like he is 11 years old in that video.

Still, that's 5 years ago now. And the company still only produces large, expensive fuel cells for industrial users. So the grand promise hasn't come true. At least, not yet.

I suspect that fuel cells will be the way of the future. But at this point they are still very much a "wait and see" technology. There is no indication that they will be anything but a "wait and see" technology for some time to come.

Maybe some day, but if it happens in my lifetime it will probably be when I'm too old to care anymore.
You're right, the video series on the subject was initiated in 1971. It reminds me of the cold fusion excitement.
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Old 15-01-2015, 00:34   #13
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Re: bloom box fuel cell

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Since energy is vital on board I still think solar panels and a decent diesel gen are the most reliable and cheap choice.
Not necessarily. Solar is 5 - 6 hours a day as long as the sun shines. Fuel cells work as necessary 24/7.

As far as expensive methanol keep in mind that a diesel generator has a life of about 5000 hours. If you look at an installed price of 15k that means $3 per hour before you turn it on.

Definitely quieter than a diesel generator.
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Old 15-01-2015, 11:51   #14
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Re: bloom box fuel cell

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Not necessarily. Solar is 5 - 6 hours a day as long as the sun shines. Fuel cells work as necessary 24/7.

As far as expensive methanol keep in mind that a diesel generator has a life of about 5000 hours. If you look at an installed price of 15k that means $3 per hour before you turn it on.

Definitely quieter than a diesel generator.
Exactly. Not to mention the efficiency that fuel cells operate at. No ICE comes anywhere near that level of efficiency, not to mention the output is DC, so it charges the batteries directly, instead of a 35% efficient engine spinning a generator producing 110 or 220vac, then converting that down to 12 or 24vdc and losing power in the process.
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