Bloom Energy: 2012 Update

Bloom Energy: 2012 Update

By Alison van Diggelen, host of Fresh Dialogues

Bloom Energy‘s Director of Product Marketing, Asim Hussain, made a rare public appearance at SVForum’s Clean Tech Conference last week and shared some details about Bloom’s 2012 plans:

New manufacturing facility in Delaware.

“Here in California, we’ve created 1500 clean jobs and we’re going to do the same in Delaware when we build that (30MW) manufacturing facility.” Asim Hussain

Manufacturing  in California

The privately held company currently has three manufacturing facilities – including its testing facility – and they employ two Bloom Boxes to power one plant, using a biogas source. They plan to extend that capability to the recently built second plant. Unlike many Silicon Valley companies, manufacturing operations are here in the valley, although they have a global supply chain.

Bloom Electrons

Fresh Dialogues asked about the future of Bloom Electrons, the energy-only purchase model the company announced last year. Instead of paying the hefty $800,000 upfront cost for a Bloom energy server, customers sign a ten-year energy purchase agreement at a fixed price. Hussain confirmed that this model allows Bloom to access a new market segment: the nonprofit sector. The poster child for Bloom Electrons is California Institute of Technology Caltech – which began a 2 MW Bloom installation in 2010. The program has also allowed commercial clients like Walmart to expand their Bloom installations from two to twenty eight stores.

Post Solyndra

In the Post Solyndra era, Bloom Energy is not immune to scrutiny. The numbers have been crunched; the energy supply sources have been analyzed (on which planet is natural gas – the fossil fuel – a renewable resource?); the accusations of too much reliance on tax credits and subsidies have been leveled.  Can the company, which has been valued at close to $3 B, meet all its cofounder, KR Sridhar’s ambitious dreams and change the world? Watch this space.
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Hussain was part of a panel discussion on green building, moderated by Abby Johnson of Abacus Property. The experts included Alain Poivet of Sunplanter, Swapnil Shah of FirstFuel and PG&E’s Andrew Yip. The conference was hosted by SAP‘s green gurus Peter Graf, and Rami Branitzky

For more coverage of Bloom Energy, check out our exclusive interviews, transcripts and stories.

Bloom’s KR Sridhar Interviews:

On Technology and Efficiency

How to Change the World

Bloom Box Affordability Essentials

Read transcripts, see photos and check out our ARCHIVES featuring exclusive interviews with Tom Friedman, Paul Krugman, Vinod Khosla and many more green experts and visionaries…

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Bloom Energy: How to Change the World

Bloom Energy: How to Change the World

By Alison van Diggelen, host of Fresh Dialogues

Like most ambitious entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley Bloom Energy CEO KR Sridhar wants to change the world. Now where have we heard that line before? It’s the ubiquitous rally cry for thousands of Google/ Facebook/eBay wannabes around the world.  But what makes KR Sridhar different?

How about $400 Million in venture capital from the likes of Kleiner Perkins’ John Doerr; a 100-strong team of PhD. rocket scientists (like himself) and top engineers from multiple disciplines who’ve been working secretly for eight years; and a client list that includes Google, eBay, Staples and FedEx. Add to that, enthusiastic backing from Arnold Schwarzenegger, splashy coverage from CBS’s 60 Minutes, and Time Magazine which last December dubbed him one of eight “Tech pioneers who will change your life.”

Yet, it does sound too good to be true. Not surprisingly, the naysayers are aplenty.  A skeptical article in the Economist said there were many reasons for questioning the company’s “hype”, including the difficulty of shrinking the fuel cell components, and competition from the likes of GE. In a typically British fashion, it mocked Bloom Energy’s ambitions, referring to “flower power” and “fuel’s gold” in the article.

But if we look back a few years; before KR Sridhar emerged from stealth to become the Steve Jobs of Green Energy – more substantive information emerges. He was quoted in Tom Friedman’s New York Times column as saying,“We are thrivers. Thrivers are constantly looking for new opportunities to seize and lead and be number one. That is what America is about.” In an exclusive interview at the Bloom Energy headquarters, I asked him to explain this comment, his motivations and why he believes his company really can change the world. Distributed power that is reliable, and affordable are key parts of his strategy.

Download or listen to this lively Fresh Dialogues interview

 

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

Excerpt from the Interview Transcript

“This is a mission about changing the world because energy is a passport to a better living. For the rest of the world that does not have access to power, access to electricity, to give them that is empowering them to a better life. So if the solution works and you make it affordable and you can distribute it all over the world then definitely you have changed the world. So … if that’s your goal and you achieve that goal, clearly given the size of the energy market, it’s in trillions not in billions and given how many people you can impact with this kind of stuff, this has to be a prominent company. So, I would say being the number one corporation is an offshoot of achieving your larger mission.” KR Sridhar, CEO Bloom Energy

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KR Sridhar: Bloom Energy Technology – Video exclusive

KR Sridhar: Bloom Energy Technology – Video exclusive

By Alison van Diggelen, host of Fresh Dialogues

Bloom Energy CEO KR Sridhar is a man with a mission to change the world. His fuel cell company is already powering Google, so that should make any skeptic take note. Check out  Fresh Dialogues YouTube Channel to see this exclusive interview. VIDEO LINK 

A former NASA advisor who developed technologies to sustain life on Mars, this earnest scientist is now harnessing his visionary skills and a large team of engineers to solve the energy crisis. His ambitious goal? To revolutionize the energy industry, just like cell phones revolutionized the communications industry. His team is developing  high efficiency fuel cells to provide a global distributed system of electricity supply at low cost and a low (and ultimately zero) carbon footprint. Clients include Google, eBay, Fedex and Walmart. Not too shabby.

The company has been in stealth mode for the last eight years and industry speculation has been rife about its future plans. Thanks to a CBS 60 Minutes Report by Lesley Stahl on February 21st, and the official Bloom Energy unveiling, many more details are now available of this potentially revolutionary product.

Even before opening his doors to 60 Minutes, KR agreed to discuss Bloom Energy’s progress in this exclusive and detailed Fresh Dialogues interview, recorded in 2009. To read the interview transcript click here

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Why is energy the focus of KR Sridhar’s mission?

“Energy is a passport to a better living. For the rest of the world that doesn’t have access to power, to electricity; to give them that is empowering them to a better life. If your solution works and you make it affordable and you distribute it all over the world, then you have definitely changed the world….You give power to the people.”

What’s in the Bloom Box?

“It takes the chemical energy from the fuel and converts that to electrons with no in between conversion. So you are changing your currency only once. It’s an electro-chemical reaction..like a battery…but the big difference is it’s a power generator so you keep supplying the fuel in and you’ll keep getting the electrons out – most importantly without combustion. It’s a one step conversion… high efficiency…you burn less fuel – less greenhouse gases -and eliminate all the combustion related polluting gases.”

What’s the link with transportation?

“Transportation can potentially go in two directions in the future. One is a hydrogen infrastructure for the car, the other one is an electrical infrastructure for the car…plug-in hybrids…Our device can either produce the electricity that’ll charge the car or provide you hydrogen if the transportation becomes hydrogen based. So we’ve sort of become the gas station for the transportation industry.”

There are still many unanswered questions about Bloom Energy, but here are some more clues.

To check out more Fresh Dialogues VIDEO interview segments click here and check  for other Fresh Dialogues video interview segments with lots more PRODUCT AND BUSINESS PLAN DETAIL about Bloom Energy.

Rolf Papsdorf: Alternative Energy Brings Power to People

Rolf Papsdorf: Alternative Energy Brings Power to People

By Alison van Diggelen, Host of Fresh Dialogues

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Rolf Papsdorf, President of the Alternative Energy Development Corporation was a recipient of the 2009 Tech Awards in Silicon Valley, for bringing renewable energy (zinc fuel cells) and empowerment to a small community in South Africa. Check out this exclusive interview with Mr. Papsdorf who discusses how to create a carbon neutral community, the advantages of zinc fuel cells (portability is a big plus) and why he wants to meet Al Gore.

Read more from the orginial post here

And enjoy the video of the affable Mr. Papsdorf:

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Rolf Papsdorf: Powering rural Africa

Rolf Papsdorf: Powering rural Africa

By Alison van Diggelen, host of Fresh Dialogues

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Rolf Papsdorf is bringing green power to the people of Africa. Thanks to the Silicon Valley based Tech Awards 2009, the rest of the world is hearing about it. His company Alternative Energy Development Corporation manufactures zinc-air fuel cells to generate off the grid electricity for rural communities. His zinc-air fuel cell project, described as the largest in the world,  brings light and energy to the village of Guyuni in South Africa, as well as job creation and online education to the community’s youth.

This project echoes – in a small way – the aims of Bloom Energy’s KR Sridhar, who aims to bring Power to the People with its fuel cell design.

On the fuel cells technology

“We’re the only company in the world which produces a low cost zinc-air fuel cells manually rechargeable…we’re proud to say that we have no carbon footprint and are totally renewable. We recycle the zinc oxide to make new zinc using solar energy.”

On how he’s empowering South Africa

“Our passion really is empowerment. We supply them with basic electricity, we have skills development programs so that they can earn an income…only 3% of (the community) income goes towards energy, the rest is disposable income.” Rolf Papsdorf

Check back soon for the VIDEO of this exclusive Fresh Dialogues interview