Saturday, April 20, 2024

Bloom Energy: Another Renewable Energy Source

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Estimate on installation costs
The current cost of each hand-made 100kW Bloom Energy server is $700,000 to $800,000. With mass production, the cost of each 1kW server (although 5kW would be ideal for an average home) could drop to under $3000. The capital costs will be $7 to $8 per watt for the bloom energy.

Bloom Energy’s well-known customers include Wal-Mart, Staples, AT&T, Adobe, Coca Cola, EBay, Google, Bank of America, FedEx, Life Technologies and Safeway. All these organisations are successfully running the Bloom Energy servers.

Fig. 6: Power generated by a single fuel cell to a complete solution
Fig. 6: Power generated by a single fuel cell to a complete solution

As of 2010, 15 per cent of the power at EBay was created with Bloom’s technology. After tax incentives that covered half the capital costs, EBay expects a three-year payback period for the remaining half, based on California’s $0.14 per kWh cost of commercial electricity.

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Bloom energy is presently being used in many parts of the world. Soon we may also start using this efficient, low-cost and highly reliable energy source for our homes in India.

Cost of Bloom Box maintenance
The expected maintenance costs for the Bloom Box can be estimated based on the amount of electricity generated. The value quoted is approximately 2.4 cents per kWh, so the monthly maintenance cost is expected to be around $22. This gives an annual maintenance cost of $264.

Natural gas fuel cost
The current commercial Bloom Box uses 0.661 MMBtu per hour of natural gas to generate 100kW of electricity. The amount of natural gas used by a residential unit will scale linearly with the size of the unit and the amount of electricity generated. So we can estimate the amount of natural gas required by scaling linearly from the usage of 100kW. If we use bio-gas, the production cost of bloom energy can be decreased as bio-gas is cheaper than natural gas.

Operational life of Bloom Box
The Bloom Box is designed to last for 20 years. Well-maintained fuel cells can last for more than ten years. So, the expected operational life for a Bloom Box is about 10 to 20 years.

As compared to other energy sources, Bloom Energy is a good option to generate power with lower operation and maintenance charges, less air pollution and zero sound pollution.

Syed Zameeruddin, an independent researcher on efficient solar power generation, has patented a unique solar power converter design (patent pending). N. Pavan Kumar is an assistant professor at Sri Vishnu Engineering College for Women


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