Energy Fuel Cells — 09 March 2010

By Alison van Diggelen, host of Fresh Dialogues

In Part Two of my Bloom Energy interview with CEO KR Sridhar, we discuss the affordability of the Bloom Box and what barriers to entry make the fuel cell sector difficult to penetrate. As CNET’s Brooke Crothers emphasized in his recent article there are many fuel cell manufacturers with expensive products; Bloom has to prove itself special by making its fuel cells SIGNIFICANTLY more affordable. It’s a long road from $800,000 (Google and eBay’s beta Bloom Boxes’ price tag) to $3,000 -which KR says is the backyard-box goal).

The BBC’s correspondent, Maggie Shiel underlines affordability in her post on Bloom’s reach for energy Nirvana; and Grist’s Todd Woody expounds further on the challenges Bloom faces and Walmart’s role in driving down costs. New York Times columnist Tom Friedman has a unique take on the Bloom story in a recent column called “Dreaming the Impossible Dream.”

This from Bloom CEO, KR Sridhar:

“Our goal is clearly to make it affordable. It needs mass market adoption… If it’s not affordable, it’ll be the niche market…it’ll be a Tesla.  We need it to be a Honda Civic.”

[podcast]http://www.freshdialogues.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/Bloom-Energy-Affordability.mp3[/podcast]

More videos Part One SEE THE FIRST MEDIA INTERVIEW WITH KR SRIDHAR HERE : Fuel Cell Technology and Efficiency

Also Part Two Bloom Energy: Affordability is Essential Video

Part Three Bloom Energy: Mission to Change the World Video

KR Sridhar on barriers to entry:

Technical

“It’s a very complex interdisciplinary field…it requires knowledge in a significant number of engineering, science, and material science disciplines. And the development of all the process know-how is fairly complex.”

Financial

“There’s a significant amount of capital that need to be invested over a long period of time to get it to where it needs to be.” (Reportedly over $400 Million has been invested in Bloom Energy since 2002, from several venture capital firms, led by Kleiner Perkins’ John Doerr.)

To see Part I of the Bloom Energy interview where KR discusses the company’s technology and efficiency click here

To check out more VIDEO interview segments at the Fresh Dialogues Channel click here

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