Comic Talk and General Discussion

BloomEnergy, Solution to the energy crisis?
imshard at 12:05PM, Feb. 26, 2010
posts: 2,961
joined: 7-26-2007

Featured on 60 minutes backed by major corporations like Google, Walmart, and eBay, and famous persons like Arnold Schwarzenegger, and designed by former Nasa Scientists.

The product literally makes electric out of air, and whatever carbon fuel you want.

What is it? A viable fuel cell design, available to the general public decades ahead of competitors. Unfortunately consumer models are not available, … yet.

What does DrunkDuck think?
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last edited on July 14, 2011 12:59PM
Hawk at 5:22PM, Feb. 26, 2010
posts: 2,790
joined: 1-2-2006
Clean energy at that quantity and in such a small source really is an exciting thing. It almost seems magical. But my mind always thinks, “There's not such thing as free energy” and it starts looking for the downsides.

The Bloom Box runs on two things: Your average fuels (natural gas, solar, fossil fues), and oxygen. The fuel side of things sounds like a definite improvement, producing power much more efficiently than a generator using those same fuels.

So, what about the Oxygen? If we end up like they were hoping in that 60 Minutes footage, and Bloom Boxes are powering every home and business, will there be a noticeable effect on the world's oxygen level? I guess the lawn at the eBay HQ didn't seem to mind. Hopefully it's not a big deal.

I also wonder about its output. They say it's “clean”, but what does is it emit? (besides the energy)
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:47PM
ozoneocean at 10:08PM, Feb. 26, 2010
posts: 26,723
joined: 1-2-2004
I also wonder about its output. They say it's “clean”, but what does is it emit? (besides the energy)
The same any any generator- CO2, heat, electricity.

It's not some magic clean device, that's just spin. The reality is that it's simply more efficient than a standard generator. And it's pretty cheap to run.
At the moment though they're very expensive to make.

The economic model of energy generation with these as they currently are is impractical for home use. They're more suited to big businesses, business complexes like a business park, medium level industry, or possibly a large residential complex.
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:36PM
Product Placement at 5:50AM, Feb. 27, 2010
posts: 7,078
joined: 10-18-2007
I wouldn't call this Clean energy, just more… efficient. It probably still makes CO2 and other forms of by products, depending on the fuel that is used for the conversion process. What this thing does is that it puts a portable generator in your backyard. Nothing more.

Now despite that, it's undoubtedly a much better alternative then fossil fuel plants which is a grossly inefficient form of power production that pollutes quite allot. It can utilize natural gas that would have been released into the atmosphere anyways and save business that buy these units allot of money in the long run. It's a nice additive to our power production capabilities but I doubt it's gonna magically fix everything.
Those were my two cents.
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last edited on July 14, 2011 2:52PM
ozoneocean at 8:05AM, Feb. 27, 2010
posts: 26,723
joined: 1-2-2004
Product Placement
Now despite that, it's undoubtedly a much better alternative then fossil fuel plants which is a grossly inefficient form of power production that pollutes quite allot.
I think it depends… Coal is very polluting, but Nuclear just as much, since there's much more work involved in the construction and decommissioning of the plants and the storage and disposal of the amazingly toxic waste.
Natural gas plants produce a lot of CO2 , but they're not too bad…
I think large scale energy production like that has some benefits- It's a cheap way to go because the costs are so spread out, it's expandable, can support very large communities…

You couldn't do large scale with bloom boxes… The cost/efficiency ratio wouldn't be as appealing. It's the same reason why you can't do small scale with them yet. They're a good medium term option though.

The best thing about that sort of generation is that you have greater control over it -no need to worry about worker strikes or corrupt companies like ENRON F-ing things up- and you don't lose so much energy in the transmission process if you don't have to transmit so far. A massive amount of conventionally generated electricity is lost to heat and other radiation through the transmission wires.
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:36PM
The Gravekeeper at 8:40PM, Feb. 27, 2010
posts: 232
joined: 3-13-2009
When it comes to anything purporting to be environmentally clean, be cautious. Every alternative source of energy has its drawbacks; hydro power means dams that, at absolute best, slightly alter the surrounding environment, windmills tend to take up land that could be used for agriculture and generate an electric field (we don't quite know what the effects of that are on animals), biomass does nothing to reduce carbon emissions, nuclear energy has that nasty habit of creating hazardous waste that we can't get rid of and will take millenia to degrade, and solar energy is still too expensive and too inefficient to really be a viable option for most cases.

You know what we need? Something that can generate electicity from all the green washing that's going on (I'm looking at you, aerosol companies, touting your CFC-free stuff like it hasn't been banned since the 50's).

As for Hawk's concerns about oxygen, there is something we can do about that: create more green spaces. Besides, people tend to like places with trees and such better than places that are all concrete or dirt.
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:14PM

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