Bloom Energy will be launching the Bloom Box on Wednesday as an alternative form of energy. With the backing of $400 million in venture capital and eight years invested in research and development, the brick sized Bloom Box could provide enough power for a house. Last night, inventor KR Sridhar went public on 60 Minutes touting this device, expecting the Bloom Box to "replace the electricity grid altogether." Sridhar claimed that the Bloom Box's inspiration occurred while he invented a device for NASA's Mars mission to create oxygen.
The only problems are the Bloom Box won't be available to consumers for at least five to ten years and it still releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. The fuel cell has been described as "simple" and "cheap to run." The Bloom Box's "catalytic plates consist of a stack of ceramic plates interspersed with an unidentified 'cheap metal alloy.' " Previously invented energy cells usually involve expensive metals, like platinum, for an energy source. It is uncertain how effective or expensive the Bloom Box will be. Sridhar expects costs to consumers to be around $3,000 U.S. dollars. The Bloom Box reportedly can "run on any fuel" from petroleum to biomass, and works when the fuel combines with oxygen thus sparking electricity, creating byproducts of water and carbon dioxide.
In terms of cost, larger models of Bloom Box like products are available for more than $700,000. They are utilized by Google Datacenters and eBay who report saving "hundreds of thousands of dollars in energy costs."