Bloom Energy, the much-hyped startup behind the Bloom Energy Server fuel cell device (aka the Bloom Box), has mostly remained quiet since its February launch–until now. Software giant Adobe just installed 12 100-kilowatt Bloom Energy Servers at its San Jose headquarters, marking Bloom’s largest installation yet. The servers’ 1.2 megawatts of power will be enough to power one third of Adobe’s electricity.
Randall H. Knox III, senior
director of Global Workplace Solutions at Adobe, explained: “Installing Bloom Energy fuel cells supports Adobe’s efforts to remain
at the forefront of utilizing clean technologies.” That’s true enough–Adobe is using methane from a landfill as a feedstock for the fuel cells, so the company’s Bloom Boxes will produce net zero carbon emissions. And unlike solar and wind, the fuel cell boxes aren’t reliant on optimum weather conditions.
But Adobe is taking a risk with its massive Bloom Energy Server
installation. Each server sells for up to $800,000, which means the
company may have invested nearly $10 million on the technology. And the
Bloom Boxes aren’t all that reliable–Bloom had to replace cells in eBay’s installation after just 7 months. In general, Bloom estimates that fuel cell stacks will have to be switched out twice during the box’s 10 year lifespan.
We’ll find out soon enough just how revolutionary the Bloom Energy Server will be–Bloom plans to release a residential version of the Box for $3,000 a pop, sometime in the near future.