I read with fascination this morning on Gizmag about a 60 Minutes episode that aired this week about the Bloom Energy system. Set to be unveiled later today, the Bloom Box has the potential to be a game-changing device for energy. It is a fuel cell which does not rely on precious metals (built from ceramics) and it runs on ethanol that could be manufactured from switchgrass or waste. It does emit a small amount of CO2 but it also by-produces hydrogen which gives the machine a double capacity for power since the hydrogen can then be used to fuel cars, etc. with no CO2 emissions.

I can see land art wind and/or solar power sculptures placed delicately above fields of switchgrass planted to power the bloom boxes of the world. On the perimeter are beautifully designed carbon-sequester-to-fuel devices that, combined with the capacity of the grass, will offset the bloom box CO2 emission. Switchgrass roofs top all the buildings of the city with SNAP installations between them.

But perhaps this is all a bit premature and I’m not sure that the CO2 created by a world powered significantly by Bloom Boxes would be able to be offset. In any event, they would not be allowed as a part of a submission to the Land Art Generator Initiative design competition since they do put off CO2. But they could be a very nice transitional technology and they may be able to help put the brakes on the momentum that the nuclear industry has been getting lately…

Link to the original 60 Minutes episode.
Two 100-kilowatt Bloom Energy Servers at a site in California. (via New York Times, via Bloom Energy)