K.R. Sridhar, co-founder and CEO of Silicon Valley’s Bloom Energy, has dominated the news this week with a fuel cell, a thin, flat ceramic cell that is expected to generate energy by combining air and a wide range of fuels – without combustion.
The solid oxide fuel cell could be a disruptive technology for the clean energy technology industry in that it can be powered by either renewable sources of energy or fossil fuel in an electro-chemical process said to be cleaner than current options.
Already major companies such as Google, Staples, Inc., FedEx Corp. and Wal-Mart stores have begun to test the technology or have signed on as customers.
Bloom said that more than 11 million kilowatt-hours of energy have been produced so far in trial runs.
Sridhar, a former NASA scientist said the technology powering the fuel cell potentially “has the same kind of impact on energy that the mobile phone had on communications.”
This fuel-cell technology has been in research for nine years. Although there are other companies working on similar technology, what Bloom has going for it is that it has an integrated system and the product is already packaged for commercial sale.