Bloom Energy on 60 Minutes

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Did anyone else here see the 60 Minutes segment last night on Bloom Energy? They are a CA based start-up company that is supposed to have a revolutionary fuel cell technology that is simple and cost effective. They showed a cube that was maybe 6" on each side and said that it was sufficient to power a house. It runs off nat gas, methane, possibly other carbon based fuels. The goal of the company is to have one in each house, business, etc and eliminate the distribution grid.
The company has about $100mil backing from Perkins-Elmer, the well known venture capital firm and will need around $400mil to get it into full development. As usual, their was a lot of missing information. Like at today's rates, what does the nat gas cost compared to an electric bill for the same amount of energy. Or what kind of greenhouse gases does it emit. The founder came off as a nut at one point when he stated his goal was to have every house using one of these within 5 to 10 years.
They have a website at Bloomenergy.com, but I don't think there is much info there. If you want to see the actual 60 mins video you can probably find it with google.
On the other hand they showed real refrigerator size units being test run by companies like FedEx. The home size unit was anticipated to sell for $3000.
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On 02/22/2010 09:17 AM, snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

Gall dern right. I can't wait for my Bloombox. Should run on propane just fine.
--
LSFT

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snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

You need to listen a little more critically - a home sized unit _needs_ to sell for $3K to be economical. The current units sell for $750K who want to brag about how green they are and are only being installed because state and local tax credits cover half the cost. That's not free money - that's taxes being paid by Joe and Josepine Homeowner.
Right now they are being hand built, one a day. There are serious doubts that Bloom will ever get them into mass production at anything close to the target cost.
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No, YOU need to listen. The founder clearly stated that the home size unit would cost around $3000. That was the small unit.

Right and they are the LARGE test units which put out a lot more power than a home size unit and are being used by the likes of UPS. Do you think the AC unit a homeowner would use costs the same as the one for the FedEx building?

I didn't here any bragging about being green. In particular, there was no mention of how much greenhouse gasses they do or do not emit.

No shit Sherlock. No one ever said it was free money. And to be economically viable long term, they do have to be able to stand on their own.

There are always going to be doubts. If that was the standard by which we dismiss things, we's have no automobiles or airplanes. The fact that Perkins-Elmer, a venture capital firm that knows technology and after doing due diligence, is willing to put $100mil into it, says they believe it will have commercial viability. That doesn't mean it will work. But it also means this isn't some small mysterious company making outrageous claims that no one with experience and credibility has checked out before giving them $100mil.
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Robert Neville wrote the following:

I'm not Joe or Josephine homeowner, but I do pay taxes that go for things that do not benefit me.. I pay school taxes and do not have any kids in school. I pay a surcharge on my auto registration for the MTA (NY Metropolitan Transit Authority), although I do not use the MTA. Part of my taxes go for welfare, although I have never been on welfare. There are many other things that I pay taxes for that do not benefit me.

Do not underestimate US technology and manufacturing.
--

Bill
In Hamptonburgh, NY
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willshak wrote:

But you probably went to public schools. Or, your neighbors kids do. And they become productive members of society, which benefits you. Uneducated people are far more likely to become a burden on society.

If you drive, traffic is a lot less because of the MTA.

Or they benefit you indirectly. Just making society as a whole work better benefits everyone. Not every tax has to benefit everyone to be worth its cost.
I note you were not complaining, so I suspect you personaly recognize this.
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On Mon, 22 Feb 2010 06:17:42 -0800 (PST), snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

He's got a substantial resume that seems to indicate he's probably not a nut. He may be a bit overly excited about the prospects, but that's part of convincing others to invest.
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On Feb 22, 6:31am, snipped-for-privacy@dog.com wrote:

I didn't listen super carefully, I was fixing a doorknob. Plus I got a bit too excited 20 years ago with the "cold fusion" thing. There are more than a few companies (Seimens, GE, and smaller ones too) working on fuel cells.
My limited experience with fuel cells (the ME dept down the hall was testing a number of them) is that they are (were 5 years ago) about 10x more expensive per kwatt than a "not particularly" cheap micro turbine combustor / genset.
I'd agree with sa's assessment.
Did anyone catch a conversion efficiency number? ie Percent electrical energy compared to nat gas input energy?
cheers Bob
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DD_BobK wrote:

snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

night on Bloom

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Yes they did, about 50% of conventional use. Half of what a propane generator would take.
--
LSMFT

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first,who believes anything 60 Minutes has to say? They have no credibility;remember the Bush memos and Dan Rather.
2nd,remember that the fuel cells need power inverters (more conversion losses) to turn the DC into AC. They have the potential to fail,and then you need a new high power inverter. It won't be a simple repair of the existing inverter. (and what happens after a lightning strike? how much of YOUR plant goes 'poof'?)
Repairs will be at YOUR expense.
and you still have a distribution network;it's either gas pipeline or delivery trucks.
--
Jim Yanik
jyanik
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You think you know so much, you should call Google, Ebay, Walmart, Fedex, and tell them they are idiots.
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On Mon, 22 Feb 2010 08:37:08 -0800 (PST), ransley

These companies often do things like this for the tax write off and the PR value, even when it doesn't make financial sense in conventional terms
BTW solar may actually be making sense now days but only because of the taxpayer subsidizing the installation. I am currently looking at a grid tie PV array for about $1.25 a watt installed. That gets my payback in the 4-5 year time frame, something that is attractive. Of course the plan is really unsustainable in any large scale or even particularly fair, though because the burden gets thrown back on the taxpayer, even if they chose not to participate. I traded in a clunker too, thanks suckers!
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On Feb 22, 12:17pm, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

4-5 year is great, what system, what tax credits. Germany has a major solar program most everyone particpates in, but not here in the US
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On Mon, 22 Feb 2010 11:27:12 -0800 (PST), ransley

Germany's program is more highly subsidized than ours is., The cost of production is about 55 eurocents but the price is less than a quarter for the customer, with tax revenue making up the rest. That is still close to double our price.
The current rebate is a 30% tax credit from Sammy up to $30,000 and $4 a watt from the state of florida
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Sure there are conversion losses in an inverter. But there are also losses in getting power from a plant in Ohio to my home here in NJ.

The same things could be said for the AC units, high efficiency furnaces or LCD TV's that are widespread today. Does that mean they are all not viable too?

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Jim Yanik wrote:

Many large companies are already using them. Google, ebay, etc.
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Is anything I said incorrect?
LARGE companies can afford them,and have gas supplies at hand. Knowing Google,I would not be surprised to find they are paying more to run them than for utility power.
--
Jim Yanik
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Ebays Ceo said they have saved 100,000 in 9 months with 5 units, not suprising considering on NGs lower cost
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ransley wrote: ...

Again I'd ask -- does that cover cost of the units or simply the differential fuel cost? I gather the units were supplied by Bloom, not purchased but don't think it was said specifically.
It's only what an actual commercial unit's amortized cost would be that would be significant in the long run; very few development demo projects are cost-effective overall because so much is written off as R&D expense by the developer of the technology. Is there any information that isn't so here, too????
--
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Looking at what I saw its made of isnt expensive, how long the unit lasts is unknown. I will be sold for more than its worth im sure
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