Michael Kanellos, now a celebrity, is dining on watercress sandwiches and champagne with Silicon Valley glitterati at the Bloom Energy unveiling. His minions are sending me cryptic transcripts of his pronouncements while I sit in the sub-basement of the Greentech Media headquarters, chained to a desk.
Here are his notes:
- Bloom Energy's CEO K.R. Sridhar says that the "Bloom Box" fuel cells can produce power for 9 to 10 cents a kilowatt hour including subsidies and have a payback of 3 to 5 years with those subsides. (There is a federal subsidy and a California subsidy as well).
- General Colin Powell, Kleiner Perkins special partner and now a Bloom Energy board member, said that the fuel cells will be be good in the battlefield.
- And as hinted in the 60 Minutes interview (and as suspected by virtue of the "Regenerative" part of the Solid Oxide Regenerative Fuel Cell moniker), CEO Sridhar said the cells could perform the reverse reaction -- using an electrical input from, say, a solar panel and electrolyzing water to create hydrogen with the proper plumbing. That option is not currently available.
And here are some excerpts from the company's press releases at the apogee of its hype cycle:
- Bloom is using the term "server," as in 'Bloom Energy Server.' (It's a sophisticated bit of PR, but ultimately meaningless.)
- To date, Bloom Energy Servers, currently in deployment for several Fortune 500 companies, have produced more than 11 million kilowatt hours of electricity, with CO2 reductions estimated at 14 million pounds. (Take this calculation with a grain of salt. You have to subtract K.R. Sridhar's flights to Davos.)
- Current Bloom Energy customers include Coca-Cola, Cox Communications, eBay, Google, FedEx, Staples, and Wal-Mart.
- Attendees at Bloom Energy’s launch event today include, among others, CA Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, former Secretary of State Colin Powell, and John Doerr of Kleiner Perkins.
- Each Bloom Energy Server provides 100 kilowatts of power in roughly the footprint of a parking space.
- Depending on whether they are using a fossil or renewable fuel, they can also achieve a 40%-100% reduction in their carbon footprint as compared with the U.S. grid.