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Old Posted Feb 25, 2010, 4:01 AM
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Bloom Box Launch Is "Big Hype"--Invention Nothing New?

Bloom Box Launch Is "Big Hype"--Invention Nothing New?

February 24, 2010

Ker Than

Read More: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/n...erence-update/

The Bloom Box—an as yet unbuilt in-home "power plant" designed to be about the size of a mini-fridge—could provide cheap, environmentally friendly electricity to U.S. households within ten years, according to Bloom Energy. Or not.

After days of speculation and hype, the fuel cell company unveiled their plans for Bloom Box mass production—but no prototype—at a press conference today with California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and former U.S. secretary of state and Bloom Energy board member Colin Powell, among others.

But fuel cell experts say that, based on the information the company made public today, the Bloom Box technology is not revolutionary, nor is it the cheapest or most efficient fuel cell system available.

"It's a big hype. I'm actually pretty pissed off about it, to be quite honest," said Nigel Sammes, a ceramic engineer and fuel cell expert at the Colorado School of Mines.

"It really is nothing new. Go to any [solid oxide fuel cell] Web site and you'll see the same stuff."

Mike Brown, a vice president at fuel cell maker UTC Power—a competitor to Bloom Energy—also wasn't surprised.

"I think we had anticipated just about everything that's on their Web site," Brown said. "But it's nice to at least finally see something" after ten years, which is about how long the Bloom Box has been in development.

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