Friday, July 29, 2011
Fuel cell maker Bloom Energy Corporation adds another customer looking for a more cleaner way to power their data centers after NTT America, the United States division of Japanese telecom giant NTT, said it has installed five of their fuel cells in its facilities in San Jose, California.
Nine-year-old Bloom sells an industrial-sized fuel cell called Bloom Energy Server or Bloom box that uses oxygen and fuel to create electricity with minimal or no emissions.
Five units installed in NTT America have a total capacity of 500 kilowatts, which is the equivalent power for about 500 houses or five large office buildings. Each Bloom fuel cell costs around $700,000 to $800,000.
Bloom Energy is fresh off a similar deal with AT&T, its first with a telecommunications company. The Bloom box will also power data centers within 11 sites in California.
The systems will generate 7.5 MW, of power equal to around 75 bloom boxes, and be fuelled by natural gas rather than biogas. The installation will begin later this year and will be fully operational by mid-2012 in 11 facilities.
The project will generate 62 million kWh and help AT&T avoid approximately 250 million pounds (0.11 MT) of carbon dioxide emissions.
So far Bloom has done much of its business within California, because California offers fuel cell installers significant subsidies.
Fuel cells are included in their Renewable Portfolio Standard and adoption can be subsidized by California under the Self Generation Incentive Programme.
Companies with facilities in California like Google, Ebay, and Coca-Cola have taken advantage of the state subsidies to deploy Bloomís boxes. The internet giant was the companyís first customer in July 2008, and has installed fuel cell units generating 400 kW to power a building on Googleís main campus.
Coca-Cola also used bloom boxes to improve the energy efficiency of its plants, vehicle fleet, and cold drink equipments. The company installed 500 kW worth of units at its Odwalla plant in Dinuba, California, providing 30 percent of the plantís power needs while reducing its carbon footprint by 35 percent.
Bloom Energy traces its roots to the National Aeronautics and Space Administrationís Mars space program, after Dr. KR Sridhar, chief executive of Bloom Energy, and his partners thought of finding a way to reverse a process for producing oxygen.
The companyís investors include Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, representing the firmís first clean tech investment, as well as Morgan Stanley, NEA, and Northgate Capital.
In January, Bloom Energy said it has 20 MW equal to 200 bloom boxes providing electricity to current customers including Staples Inc. and Walmart and new customers California Institute of Technology, Kaiser Permanente, and Becton, Dickinson and Company.
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