Wednesday, February 24, 2010

A Maker of Fuel Cells Blooms in California

FEBRUARY 24, 2010, 11:53 AM

By THE NEW YORK TIMES

Our colleague Todd Woody on the Green Inc. blog has an interesting blog post about Bloom Energy, a secretive fuel-cell start-up that was also the subject of an article Wednesday in The New York Times.

Bloom’s energy servers, which cost as much as $800,000, have been quietly purchased by such companies like Google, eBay and Wal-Mart Stores, which are looking to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.

Unlike so many other green technologies that make their users feel good but cost more than fossil-fuel alternatives, Bloom appears to have licked the cost problem — at least, when government incentives are included.

K.R. Sridhar, the company chief executive and co-founder, told Mr Woody that the Bloom device has been generating electricity at a cost of 8 to 10 cents a kilowatt-hour. In California, where Bloom has installed 30 fuel-cell systems, commercial electricity rates averaged about 14 cents a kilowatt-hour in October 2009.

EBay, which is using Bloom boxes to generate 15 percent of its electricity, said it expects a three-year payback period, after factoring in tax incentives that halved the effective costs.

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