The Bloom Box –An energy magic box or just a hype?

Every now and then, there comes something that makes you turn you head, that demands your attention regardless if you are ready or not.

Is the world ready for green energy to take over the day-to-day life?

The chatter is getting louder, about the possible next BIG thing. California Silicone Valley is buzzing with the new venture. Backed by the same powerful venture capitalist who once supported the start-ups like Netscape, Amazon and Google, the discussions about alternate power source are everywhere.

If successful, the new energy source can replace the big power plants and eventually the transmission line grid, over time. Moreover, it is ‘green energy’, completely environment friendly, as there is no burning or combustion.

K.R. Sridhar, the CEO of Bloom Box, is the man behind the concept. The ambitious undertaking is already being trialed by EBay headquarters and many other corporations, as an alternate to the conventional energy.

Basically, in simplistic terms, the Bloom box invention is a fuel cell, a very skinny battery that always runs; that is always on. The slim wafer takes oxygen from one side, and fuel on the other. The two combine within the cell to create a chemical reaction to produces electricity. These tiny wafers or skinny slates are stacked up to compound the energy production.

According to Sridhar’s interview on CBS’s ‘60 Minute’, 2 boxes of these batteries – each box slightly bigger than Rubik’s Cube – can power up one US house, or 2 European house, or 4-6 houses in India around the clock.

If the promise holds true, this invention in the field of green energy could be one of the biggest breakthroughs of modern days.

The kinks are being worked-out in the practical applications and trials; however, the household distribution may be years away.

eBay’s CEO says that they installed five Bloom boxes nine months ago and this has already saved the company more than $100,000 in electricity costs. The eBay’s boxes run on bio-gas fuel made from landfill waste, so they’re carbon neutral.

Also, according Fortune, Google has a 400 kilowatt installation from Bloom at its headquarters in Mountain View, California. The real tests like these ones are underway for years now.

According to Sridhar’s estimate, a unit should cost an average person less than $3,000.

Sridhar is an India-born PhD; he once led a team of NASA scientists trying to develop the technology to sustain life on Mars. So, he is no stranger to the high profile, high risk ventures.

“You know, it’s about seeing the world as what it can be and not what it is,” Sridhar says.

It is already being called the next major breakthrough – the Holy Grail of energy. And then, others are equally skeptical, as it is nothing more than a fuel cell – so they say.

It is an outrageously adventurous idea; will it ‘bloom’ into an invention that changes the concept of energy generation? Only time will tell.

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