world energy for all?

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world energy for all?

Since peak oil and energy being the way to keep economy's going, along comes something to good to be true? I bring this to the website as this has the potential to stop future wars. Jon

http://www.bloomenergy.com/besolution.php

Sixty minutes has some video on this.The size fits in your hands. A fuel cell. 5 to 10 years.

http://earth2tech.com/2010/02/19/bloom-energy-to-unveil-the-bloom-box-on...

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Re: world energy for all?

Awesome, thanks Investorzzo.  Interesting timing for me.  I have lots of family and friends in the natural gas industry, and it has been fascinating to listen to the developments and findings in that space in the last 6 months alone.  A year ago the phrase regarding natural gas in the United States was "we are swimming in it."  Today, that phrase is "we are drowning in it."

Based on what I have researched and heard in the last months, natural gas can and likely will power our way through the next 100 years with no problem.  The additional amount of power needed to extract this natural gas is not an issue.  The technology advances in extracting the natural gas without using a ton more energy removes the fear that new natural gas finds will equate to the next tar sands (huge energy in to extract a minimal extra amount out).

Further, discoveries like Bloom and 100's of others that can leverage natural gas have moved me from being extremely concerned about energy over the past few years to being more confident than ever that our energy crisis is really not that bad.  And, while I have no idea whats in the Bloom, the mention that its built with sand and cheap alloys is facinating and might solve the rare elements issue.  Human innovation?  its here.  Perhaps Bloom is not it....but there is just too much innovation that exists already to dismiss the high probability of a solution.

I gotta say, the more research I do regarding energy, the more I think the exponential wave of innovation is ahead of the exponential wave of use and depletion.  I am sure this comment will cause a stir here on this site, but I encourage us to consider the possibility that while peak oil might be near, we have solutions that will be here in plenty of time.

Again, Investorzzo - thank you for posting a bullish piece of information here - - a balance we sorely need on this site!

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Re: world energy for all?

er...ok...what is it?

All I saw was pretty ads, graphics and a count down. Why so hard to get to the content?

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Re: world energy for all?

They have been in stealth mode for several years.  Their actual launch date is this Wednesday. I suspect the web site will change then.  For those that missed it, you can read the transcript or watch the 60 Minutes segment here:

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2010/02/18/60minutes/main6221135_page2.shtml

 

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Re: world energy for all?
rickets wrote:

Awesome, thanks Investorzzo.  Interesting timing for me.  I have lots of family and friends in the natural gas industry, and it has been fascinating to listen to the developments and findings in that space in the last 6 months alone.  A year ago the phrase regarding natural gas in the United States was "we are swimming in it."  Today, that phrase is "we are drowning in it."

Based on what I have researched and heard in the last months, natural gas can and likely will power our way through the next 100 years with no problem.  The additional amount of power needed to extract this natural gas is not an issue.  The technology advances in extracting the natural gas without using a ton more energy removes the fear that new natural gas finds will equate to the next tar sands (huge energy in to extract a minimal extra amount out).

Further, discoveries like Bloom and 100's of others that can leverage natural gas have moved me from being extremely concerned about energy over the past few years to being more confident than ever that our energy crisis is really not that bad.  And, while I have no idea whats in the Bloom, the mention that its built with sand and cheap alloys is facinating and might solve the rare elements issue.  Human innovation?  its here.  Perhaps Bloom is not it....but there is just too much innovation that exists already to dismiss the high probability of a solution.

I gotta say, the more research I do regarding energy, the more I think the exponential wave of innovation is ahead of the exponential wave of use and depletion.  I am sure this comment will cause a stir here on this site, but I encourage us to consider the possibility that while peak oil might be near, we have solutions that will be here in plenty of time.

Again, Investorzzo - thank you for posting a bullish piece of information here - - a balance we sorely need on this site!

rickets, I too wonder if the fuel cells will need any "rare earth elements" as China owns about 97 percent of them. I really am not that knowledgable on fuel cells. I believe California is the other place with some "rare earth elements". Also, I post this from the standpoint of energy (cheap) is needed for the next 100 years. I hope we can avoid a massive war for commodities in the future. Jon

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Re: world energy for all?

Wow. I agree with Ricketts.  Human ingenuity and politics make for unhappy marriages.  But, eventually, politics will yield ground when the opportunity to make a new source of money becomes available.  

How many electric company jobs will this cost?  I am thrilled at the idea, as I am sure many are,  but we are not out of the woods and this technology will throw as many people out of work as did the emergence of diesel train engines.  At what point do we need to reverse engineer a society that needs more people to have jobs than it needs people to work?

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Re: world energy for all?

The devil is always in the details:

 

http://blogs.wsj.com/digits/2010/02/22/the-bloom-box-energy-breakthrough-or-silicon-valley-hype/

 

Scroll down:

Max Hugoson wrote:

.At the urging of my “well into retirement” Mother, I watched the pathetic 20 minutes of 60 minutes yesterday as others, on the “Bloom Box”. What blew me away was the complete credulity on the part of the 60 Minutes staff.

Well, no suprise they are complete MORONS. (At least technically.) After all, you scratch the surface of these yo yo’s and they think a solar panel and a windmill on top of their houses, and they can say “good bye” to their utility bills.

OK let’s go over the details:

#1. It was almost implied that this device took no fuel. (But then admitted that it takes natural gas.

#2. There was NO talk of the quality of power it puts out. Is it 100 VDC per cell? 70 Amps per cell? That’s 7000 watts, and despite the alleged 90% electrical efficiency of fuel cells, that means you have 700 watts you need to “cool” during opperation. (Compare the fan on your PC, cooling about 40 watts, so you need 20 times as much cooling ability.)

#3. It took $400,000,000 to develop commercially??? Sorry, I know dozens of products, with processing cycles similar to that shown in the 60 Minutes piece, which have takend $40,000 or $400,000 or $4,000,000 to develop, and then gone on to success. $400,000,000??!!! Something STINKS right there. There should be more than just Ebay running a unit, there should be about 50 to 100 “demo” units around.

#4. So this device “magically” works without “chemical poisoning” by Sulfur, or heavy metals or more complex organics. Could be. They do appear to be based on a concept known as a “proton conductor”, which would run at about 600 C or 1000 F. This is a high enough temperature to “burn off” organic contamination, and the Sulfur contamination could come out as SO2. But please NOTE to have “enviromentally clean” output, one STILL NEEDS a massive “gas plant” to clean up the CH4.

#5. No mention of the “surrounding equipment. Let’s see, I just bought a 300 watt, DC to AC inverter. $50.

If I want 3000 watts, I need $500 for that, if I want 30 times that much…I need $1500. Say the Bloom box costs (and judging by the capitol put into it, this would not be unreasonable) $5000. I’m now into the $6500 realm to put my Bloom box” in place. (Also, my electrician costs me about $1800!)

That’s $8,400. For me that is, at current rates, about 4 years of electrical and gas costs.

Am I given an INSURANCE policy that the Bloom box will work flawlessly for 4 years? 8 years, or like my home furnace, 30 years?

What happens to the price of CH4, when I put 50% of all electric generation on it?

#6. Now this is scary…a Bloom Box promotional site says, “Produces 60% less CO2 emissions than standard means of “burning” CH4.

Whoops, sorry, NO FUEL CELL “alters” reality. Reality is CH4 + 2O2 = CO2 + 2H20. Therefore CO2 does not just disappear.

I smell CON JOB throughout this effort. Watch it peter out and watch the “inventor” retire to Bermuda (no extradition for economic crimes) and laugh at the RUBES in “silicon valley”.

Max

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Re: world energy for all?

My understanding is that China does not have a monopoly on rare earth reserves so much as they are one of the very few nations currently extracting the rare earths, and most other countries have been content to buy from them rather than extract it themselves.  Of course even if other countries have substantial rare earth resources, the lag time it'll take to start extracting them is very significant.  So if China cuts us off immediately, well then if there are finished products requiring rare earths we will have to buy it from China then, won't we?  Perhaps this is part of a long-term plan of theirs to get a HUGE head-start in renewable technologies.  At least that's what I'd do if I were them and only interested in looking out for number one...

- Nickbert

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Re: world energy for all?

investorzzo shoots and scores again with this interesting story!

I enjoyed the story and hope it works as described.  Not surprisingly, it was a consumer piece with few operational details given.  They showed a residential cell stack without any of the peripheral equipment and inlet outlet connections.  It looked to be the size of a brick or two. I think the unit with trim and cabinet is a little smaller than a refrigerator.

They suggested that an energy savings of 50% had been realized but offered no details.  Natural gas seems to be the chemical fuel of choice which marries nicely with the U.S. reserves but it is a finite energy supply like oil. 

One thing I don't understand is how does this device operate as clean as they claim when they are using natural gas as the chemical fuel.  Are they converting the gas to hydrogen without any carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, etc.  

While this is good news that alternatives are being developed, it is not a panacea. 

Larry

 

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Re: world energy for all?

There are no panaceas,  there are only options and alternatives that when married together can provide us with what we need.  Malthus was wrong because humans learned to get more food out of less land.  CM is wrong about energy because the alternatives have always been there,  they have been suppressed or shunted off as unrealistic,  when they are realistic if you see them as a part of the solution,  not the entire solution.

Bio fuels were invented by George Washington Carver for heaven's sake.  The issue has always been politics and money,  not  a lack of ingenuity or ability.

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Re: world energy for all?

Their website has more information now: http://www.bloomenergy.com/

It has some information about how the system works, input/output, etc now.

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Re: world energy for all?
land2341 wrote:

There are no panaceas,  there are only options and alternatives that when married together can provide us with what we need.  Malthus was wrong because humans learned to get more food out of less land.  CM is wrong about energy because the alternatives have always been there,  they have been suppressed or shunted off as unrealistic,  when they are realistic if you see them as a part of the solution,  not the entire solution.

Bio fuels were invented by George Washington Carver for heaven's sake.  The issue has always been politics and money,  not  a lack of ingenuity or ability.

Agree. I frequented the peak oil forums for a few years and have done a tremendous amount of reading on this subject and concluded that the energy crisis was vastly over blown, that there were alternatives being developed. The central energy problem is not lack of energy, but having a currency, whose major strength has been it's exclusive use as a means of exchange for oil. This is changing, and the U.S. is no longer able to bomb countries, willy nilly, into submission, should they trade their oil for other currencies.

A  larger problem is how humanity will behave if they have unlimited access to limitless energy, even if the energy itself is clean.  We could be trading carbon emissions for something more dire.  Extreme energy constraints have the potential to limit population growth. Without these constraints we could be damned as a species, and will surely destroy the planet, through sheer mechanical displacement of animal and plant populations. Peak oil worries will be supplanted by peak water, peak fish, peak everything else. It's already happening, but will ramp up. The oceans will die, as there will be more oil left over for cheap fertilizer, creating larger dead zones.

The only solution to sure extinction, is an expansion and evolution of the collective human spirit, commensurate with the energy supply. This may occur naturally.  Let's pray it does.

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Re: world energy for all?

Based on TIME -SCALE- COST what are the alternatives? How do we get there from here? Just how was Malthus wrong?

Btw I think we are still able to " bomb countries, willy nilly into submission." We are currently doing just that in two countries and Iran is on the way.

V

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Re: world energy for all?

This is nothing new at all......  good old Solid Oxide Fuel Cells.  And, they are far from perfect, unlike the [con job] blurb on this website.  Make no mistake, they are simply making money, or trying to, because I don't know who would invest in this expensive technology in the current economic climate.  These cells still burn FFs, and they still gebnerate greenhouse gases.  And they are expensive, and they clog up with impurities if the fuel is not 100% pure.  Then there is the issue of building a gas grid to parallel the electric one....  how much will that cost and who will pay for it, and with what money..  errrr I mean debt!

Someone here said Malthus was wrong.  Sorry....  YOU are wrong!  And we did not learn to harvest more food from less land, we learnt to use vast amounts of cheap and abundant fossil fuels to grow food on steroids!

Someone else mentioned "swimming in gas"......  REALLY?  You got a link for that?  That shale gas may be an enormous resource, but the ENERGY RETURN ON ENERGY INVESTED is......  CRAP!

Chris Martenson is NOT wrong on the energy crisis, I think you are in denial and clutching at straws to save your illusory cushy future.  If you didn't understand the CC chapter on energy, do it again.

Mike

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Re: world energy for all?

World changer?

 

Bloom Energy said its customers, which include Google Inc. and eBay Inc., pay 9 cents to 10 cents per kilowatt-hour. For power they buy directly from the electricity grid in California, where all of Bloom Energy's boxes are currently located, the price is 13 cents to 14 cents per kWh, the company said.

 

Is this the cost of natural gas per kwh, or the total cost of operation (including initial costs) at current natural gas prices?  A 4 cent drop in kwh cost doesn't seem like a big deal.

Seems like it might be a good idea in areas were electricity costs are high, but doesn't look like it will be able to compete with a lot of areas.

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Re: world energy for all?
V wrote:

Based on TIME -SCALE- COST what are the alternatives? How do we get there from here? Just how was Malthus wrong?

Btw I think we are still able to " bomb countries, willy nilly into submission." We are currently doing just that in two countries and Iran is on the way.

V

Note how the U.S. has been on the cusp of bombing Iran into submission for the about 3 or 4 years? It hasn't happened because the U.S. can't afford to bomb any country that could retaliate in a really meaningful way. The U.S., still defining itself as a  major power and international liberator, is really just an old rabid dog, tottering off into the sunset, scaring small rodents and defensless children.

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Gas: swimming in it..??

From the DD:  sounds more like swimming in toxic water....

Gasland (Davos)

When filmmaker Josh Fox discovers that Natural Gas drilling is coming to his area—the Catskillls/Poconos region of Upstate New York and Pennsylvania, he sets off on a 24 state journey to uncover the deep consequences of the United States’ natural gas drilling boom. What he uncovers is truly shocking—water that can be lit on fire right out of the sink, chronically ill residents of drilling areas from disparate locations in the US all with the same mysterious symptoms, huge pools of toxic waste that kill cattle and vegetation well blowouts and huge gas explosions consistently covered up by state and federal regulatory agencies. These are just a few of the many absurd and astonishing revelations of a new country called Gasland.

Water Waste A Kink In New York Shale Gas Future (Christian W.)

Technological advances that have unlocked natural gas from shale rock deep beneath the surface have outpaced advances in water waste disposal, meaning that gas drilling could begin in New York state before a waste disposal program is in place. "There is a shortage of treatment facilities that can handle this very salty water, so that's going to become a bit of a bottleneck for the industry when they do start issuing drilling permits," said hydrogeologist John Conrad, head of the environmental consulting firm Conrad Geoscience Corp.

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Re: world energy for all?

Malthus was right in that increasing population requires increased food.  Malthus was wrong because the technology developed to generate more food from the same amount of land.  Yes, the food has been gene modified and dependent on toxic chemicals and fossil fuel propelled vehicles.  But it was still done.  And it was done over a hundred years ago.  

Malthus was wrong because his calculations were wrong.  His vision was too short sighted.  His lessons are not to be ignored,  but not to be overestimated.  I am not living in a fantasy land expecting some one to invent a miracle.  And I am not expecting it to come about without massive social change.  The Netherlands lost their role as a world leader because they missed the change in fuel source from air and water to coal.  England fell behind because they missed the boat from the change from coal to oil.  There will be something next.  There are many somethings NOW.    The question is how painful will it be for us to give up our current paradigm and allow a new one to develop.  I am not saying CM is wrong about oil,  only that he isn't taking into account the alternatives.

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Re: world energy for all?

He does take into account alternatives. In this area his main point is TIME, SCALE, COST. If you had not noticed, the USA is broke, so the cost is an issue. SCALE is a bitch, so much has been invested in oil infrastructure, replacing that is a mammoth task. All the alternatives have a much lower ERoEI. Say the ERoEI of the alternatives was 1/3 that of oil, that means that the energy infrastructure would need to be 3 times as large as the current infrastructure to replace it. How much TIME do we have to do it, and how much COST will be run up in debt to do it

Cheers Hamish

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Re: world energy for all?
gyrogearloose wrote:

He does take into account alternatives. In this area his main point is TIME, SCALE, COST. If you had not noticed, the USA is broke, so the cost is an issue. SCALE is a bitch, so much has been invested in oil infrastructure, replacing that is a mammoth task. All the alternatives have a much lower ERoEI. Say the ERoEI of the alternatives was 1/3 that of oil, that means that the energy infrastructure would need to be 3 times as large as the current infrastructure to replace it. How much TIME do we have to do it, and how much COST will be run up in debt to do it Cheers Hamish

 

Who knows what the alternatives are, at this point? There is no solid proof whatsoever that the form of energy we will be using in 5 to 10 years is even in the realm of public science.  We are trying to form opinions about the future of energy in an information vacuum, where a lion's share of research and development wouldn't be available to the public until near the point of implementation. In an age where Boston pizza's stuffed pizza crust was a closely held secret, until it went to market, it's naive to assume we'd receive earnest updates about energy r&d by those who stand to make a fortune by keeping quiet.

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Re: world energy for all?
agitating prop wrote:

Who knows what the alternatives are, at this point? There is no solid proof whatsoever that the form of energy we will be using in 5 to 10 years is even in the realm of public science.  We are trying to form opinions about the future of energy in an information vacuum, where a lion's share of research and development wouldn't be available to the public until near the point of implementation. In an age where Boston pizza's stuffed pizza crust was a closely held secret, until it went to market, it's naive to assume we'd receive earnest updates about energy r&d by those who stand to make a fortune by keeping quiet.

Give me a break.....  it takes 20 to 50 years to get "a new energy source" up and running.  After 50 years, fusion is STILL 50 years away...  and there is NO information vacuum, YOU are simply ignorant of the facts I'm afraid.

Everything we do is an evolution from past ideas, slowly but surely improving, but the trouble is, the "new energy sources" are NOT sources, they are merely energy stores or converters, all man made, all requiring vast amounts of energy inputs to create and deploy, unlike fossil fuels that come out of the ground for almost free.

Mike - Energy efficiency consultant

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Re: world energy for all?
Damnthematrix wrote:
agitating prop wrote:

Who knows what the alternatives are, at this point? There is no solid proof whatsoever that the form of energy we will be using in 5 to 10 years is even in the realm of public science.  We are trying to form opinions about the future of energy in an information vacuum, where a lion's share of research and development wouldn't be available to the public until near the point of implementation. In an age where Boston pizza's stuffed pizza crust was a closely held secret, until it went to market, it's naive to assume we'd receive earnest updates about energy r&d by those who stand to make a fortune by keeping quiet.

Give me a break.....  it takes 20 to 50 years to get "a new energy source" up and running.  After 50 years, fusion is STILL 50 years away...  and there is NO information vacuum, YOU are simply ignorant of the facts I'm afraid.

Everything we do is an evolution from past ideas, slowly but surely improving, but the trouble is, the "new energy sources" are NOT sources, they are merely energy stores or converters, all man made, all requiring vast amounts of energy inputs to create and deploy, unlike fossil fuels that come out of the ground for almost free.

Mike - Energy efficiency consultant

Give ME a break. There is evolution,  but there are also quantum leaps and paradigm shifts that in no way represent the kind of glacial change, slow progression  you describe. Your opinion is appreciated but that is what it is, your opinion, like my own and ChrisM's. It is NOT thoroughly rooted in provable fact.

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Re: world energy for all?

Mike,  Can we have a conversation?  I am listening to you and I am not dismissing the 3Es.  Neither I think is AG.  (pardon me for speaking for you if I am incorrect)  

I for one fully understand the entire issue of infrastructure in the oil industry.   It is a field with which I am  extraordinarily close.  But, I add this perspective:  When my husband and I began to date 13 years ago,  I did not have a cell phone.    Cell phones were still a status symbol.  It was a big deal to wear one on your hip.  It was only a few years earlier that we had one cell phone in our firm and it was larger than the laptop I am writing this on.  In less than 20 years we have gone from car phones to everyone carrying a cell phone with more ability than my desktop computer had back then.   It was fast,  and it was so incremental that we barely noticed the incredible impact it has had on our society.  The infrastructure went up was multiplied and upgraded repeatedly during that 20 years.    

Oil's days are numbered,  but it will not vanish overnight.  There are 8 refineries for sale in Europe right now.  8!  With no buyers.  The infrastructure that supports oil is already downsizing,  just like car phone installation firms went out of business.  Now many people are not even bothering with land lines at home.  The original Ma Bell is no more.  Major social upheaval happens all of the time,  but it is so close to us it is like watching a plant grow,  you do not see it right away.  

The shifts have already started.  Many more homes have solar panels than did even ten years ago.  Most traffic cameras and many traffic lights are now solar.   There are wind farms nearby and more will be built.  Yes, it takes fossil fuels to create these.  And many believe that there is not enough fuel left to create a new infrastructure that can replace what we have.  I think it will happen so incrementally the change will only seem huge in retrospect.    My college students have never known a world without cell phones.  Most have never seen a vinyl album.  This is their world.  

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Re: world energy for all?

Not sure if infinite energy would be good for the long-term sustainability of the planet. Without any kind of control over human population growth, what does this portend for the "livability" of our planet for any species? I would have to agree with the following statement:

Post#11

Agitating prop:

...Extreme energy constraints have the potential to limit population growth. Without these constraints we could be damned as a species, and will surely destroy the planet, through sheer mechanical displacement of animal and plant populations. Peak oil worries will be supplanted by peak water, peak fish, peak everything else. It's already happening, but will ramp up. The oceans will die, as there will be more oil left over for cheap fertilizer, creating larger dead zones.

The only solution to sure extinction, is an expansion and evolution of the collective human spirit, commensurate with the energy supply. This may occur naturally.  Let's pray it does.

 

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Re: world energy for all?

People on this site need to take a college course in thermodynamics to understand how energy is transferred.  It seems that too many on here are falling victim to voodoo science.  Energy cannot be created, only transferred.  The transfer of the energy is inefficient and their are limits to how efficent it can be.  Only time will tell if this box works, but don't think that their is some hidden device that will provide free energy for everyone.  People will learn to adapt with less energy, although there will probably be many dramatic events along the way.

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Re: world energy for all?

oh man....I love this site.

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Re: world energy for all?

The story showed that there is a lot of money behind the BloomBox and no doubt, we saw an "infomercial" snuck in as prime time news.  I'm greatly in favor of fuel cells as they provide an efficient and **clean alternative to the electrical "grid."  Electrical power in the U.S. is generated at an average of around 40%.  Distribution losses across the grid add another 5-8%.  The energy saving potential is enormous.

**clean = the environmental impact + clean electricity (as monitored on an oscilloscope and voltage meter)

As far as I can see, the new fuel cell will be cheaper as their patented process negates the need for exotic metals in the stack.  The big innovation seems that it is more of a gas transfer device.  When running on natural gas, it does emit CO2, but the ratio is much lower than existing, non-hydrogen technologies.  

The news piece suggested an overall energy savings of 50% but much of the generation simply moves from the electrical grid to the gas grid.  Electricity, in most parts of the country, has been more stable than rising gas costs.  This has hurt the fuel cell industry. 

Yes, fuel cells may provide reliable and less expensive electricity but for heating and cooling needs a geothermal heat pump can deliver 250-450% efficiency.  The future may marry these, and other mature technologies in a symbiotic relationship.  The BloomBox runs at well over 1,000 degrees F - they assume you will harness the rejected heat to attain the projected performance - why not reject the heat into a geothermal heat pump?

Larry   

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Re: world energy for all?
DrKrbyLuv wrote:

The story showed that there is a lot of money behind the BloomBox and no doubt, we saw an "infomercial" snuck in as prime time news.  I'm greatly in favor of fuel cells as they provide an efficient and **clean alternative to the electrical "grid."  Electrical power in the U.S. is generated at an average of around 40%.  Distribution losses across the grid add another 5-8%.  The energy saving potential is enormous.

**clean = the environmental impact + clean electricity (as monitored on an oscilloscope and voltage meter)

As far as I can see, the new fuel cell will be cheaper as their patented process negates the need for exotic metals in the stack.  The big innovation seems that it is more of a gas transfer device.  When running on natural gas, it does emit CO2, but the ratio is much lower than existing, non-hydrogen technologies.  

The news piece suggested an overall energy savings of 50% but much of the generation simply moves from the electrical grid to the gas grid.  Electricity, in most parts of the country, has been more stable than rising gas costs.  This has hurt the fuel cell industry. 

Yes, fuel cells may provide reliable and less expensive electricity but for heating and cooling needs a geothermal heat pump can deliver 250-450% efficiency.  The future may marry these, and other mature technologies in a symbiotic relationship.  The BloomBox runs at well over 1,000 degrees F - they assume you will harness the rejected heat to attain the projected performance - why not reject the heat into a geothermal heat pump?

Larry  

Larry.......  you're kidding yourself.

I know someone who is a world expert on Fuel cells.  Her name is Susan Krumdieck (just google her..)  She's told me in no uncertain terms that she doesn't believe fuel cells will ever cut it.  They need 100% pure fuel, or they clog up.  Pure CH4 comes at a premium price, and no matter which way you look at it, as Dave K pointed out, when you burn CH4 you get exactly the same amount of CO2 no matter HOW you burn it.....

The energy savings you talk of here are due to the fact the electricity generated doesn't need to be distributed down high tension power lines, and that amount of savings can be achieved by roof mounting PVs like we've done, or having a wind turbine (if appropriate) right next to your house....  The only thing I like about this is that it is a decentralised generation system...  but that's IT.

In view of the current economic climate, I predict they will NEVER take off.  End of story.  Just like large scale solar and wind.....  too little too late

One other thing....  You confuse COP with efficiency, and they are two quite different things.  Even many of the textbooks confuse these terms quite often.

Rigorously, the efficiency of a motor or system may be defined as (total useful output) divided by (total energy input from all sources).  No  inert system can have an efficiency of greater than 100%, for that would be a violation of energy conservation.  NOTHING can have "250-450% efficiency"......  that breaks all the rules!

The coefficient of performance (COP) of a motor or system may be defined as (total useful output) divided by (energy input by the operator only).  If the operator only has to input, say, 10 joules of energy and the active environment freely inputs 90 joules of energy, then the total input is 100 joules.  Now suppose that the system has 50% efficiency; i.e., it wastes or "loses" half the energy before it dissipates the rest of it in the load to do useful work.  In that case the system outputs 50 joules of work for a total input of 100 joules, but with the operator only inputting 10 of those 100 input joules.

So this system has an efficiency of 50% but a COP =5.0.

A windmill, e.g., may have an efficiency of 30% or less, but its COP approaches infinity because the operator does not have to input any energy at all.  He just pays for the siting, building of the windmill, repairs, and maintenance.  And hopes his winds hold good.

Mike

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DrKrbyLuv
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Aug 10 2008
Posts: 1995
Re: world energy for all?

Mike,

Not sure how you rate ground source heat pumps down under, but here we use several ratings. 

  • COP (Coefficient of Performance) is the heating capacity (in Btu/hour) of the unit divided by its electrical input (also in Btu/h) at standard (ARI/ISO 13256-1) conditions of 32oF entering water for closed loop models and 50oF entering water for open loop equipment.  Closed loop heat pumps may reach a COP of around 4.9.
  • Geothermal heat pump performance is also expressed as efficiency and yes, it can be over 100%.  A COP of 4 means that for every unit of electrical supply, the output performance is 4 times as great.  The earth link enables the unit to reject or inject heat energy and cooling.  Here is a reference from DOE: Geothermal heat pumps (GHPs) use the constant temperature of the earth as the exchange medium instead of the outside air temperature. This allows the system to reach fairly high efficiencies (300%-600%) on the coldest of winter nights, compared to 175%-250% for air-source heat pumps on cool days.

Mike wrote:

Now suppose that the system has 50% efficiency; i.e., it wastes or "loses" half the energy before it dissipates the rest of it in the load to do useful work.  In that case the system outputs 50 joules of work for a total input of 100 joules, but with the operator only inputting 10 of those 100 input joules. So this system has an efficiency of 50% but a COP =5.0.

COP specifies inlet and outlet temperatures of a GSHP (ground source heat pump) to compare models.  In your example, if a heat pump output is half of the input, we would say that the COP was 0.5

I'm not as quick as you to write off fuel cells.  There is another external variable that you aren't taking into account, that is the capacity of our power grid.  Here in the U.S., the power grid was never designed to handle the current load.  It has become unreliable and the quality of our electricity fluctuates which can reduce the service life of power sensitive devices like electrical motors and microprocessors.

To upgrade our power grid will be astronomically expensive.  We would be better off in terms of efficiency to generate electricity on the spot at a higher efficiency than current power plants and we would also save distribution losses (5-8%).  

This is an example of where the government would be better off helping individuals with 0% loans, or even loans that co-op the cost by reducing the principal charged.  

Fuel cells usually require some filtration and sometimes, a scrubber.  They are very simple mechanically but do require maintenance.

A fuel cell and a ground source heat pump work very well together as the heat pump may extract the heat produced by the fuel cell for hot domestic water and space heating.  When that load is not needed, the heat from the fuel cell may be rejected into the earth loop to keep the efficiency high.

Larry 

investorzzo's picture
investorzzo
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Nov 7 2008
Posts: 1182
Re: world energy for all?

Interesting conversation. I realize that I know little of the technology. What I do know is how to do reasearch and this is from the company site "BloomEnergy". Why would the first customer (SimCenter) be ordering a much bigger purchase?

The project was a tremendous success. The 5kW system used a natural gas feed to produce electricity which it provided to the Tennessee Valley Authority grid. The system also demonstrated a successful ability to co-generate hydrogen. The system was in operation for over 18 months providing 99% load availability, while managed entirely remotely from Bloom Energy Remote Monitoring Command Center in Sunnyvale, CA. As a satisfied customer, The Sim Center has ordered a 100kW system to be installed in 2010.

Other customers:

Google, Staples, Ebay, Walmart, Cox, FedEx, Bank of America, Coke

V's picture
V
Status: Platinum Member (Offline)
Joined: Dec 14 2009
Posts: 849
Re: world energy for all?

Why would the first customer be ordering a bigger purchase? I might speculate here and say GOVERNMENT SUBSIDY. 

Yes we are swimming in natural gas literally. This is because all this natural gas is being gotten through hydraulic fracturing. The most precious liquid on the planet is not oil it is fresh water. The methods for extracting require huge amounts of water and at the same time it pollutes not only the water it uses but all the ground water in the area.

I don't see how anyone one on this site can seriously consider this as a Green Tech energy solution. The customers of this technology do not in their accounting factor in the cost to the environment and the destruction of natural capital. Let us not forget any of the three E'S.

On another note in regards to this. At least one of the members of the board of directors is CFR. i  have not researched the others but I  would not be surprised if there were not more of them. Government subsidies, environmental destruction, CFR, this is a bad idea until I hear something different. I would not be surprised if some father large Wall Street firms stand to gain large in this deal.

V

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