Monday, March 26, 2012 (date change)

Presentation: Bloom Energy
Speaker: Joseph Udinsky Jr.,
East Coast Project Manager, Bloom Energy

Notes taken: 
(Some information was company confidential, so Wikipedia was used to guide the notes recorded in this memo.) 

Some motivations for using a Bloom Energy Server:
• Power Plant can be nearby, and are aesthetic friendly. 
• Less fuel to electrons conversion loss.; higher fuel efficiency.
• No smoke stacks
• Less initial capital required, can start small and grow the plant.

Alternate in kind technologies are Diesel, Microturbine, Solar, Wind Turbine

The Bloom process runs at 800 degrees C and converts gas fuel into ions. Almost any kind of carbon based fuel will convert at this temperature. 

Bloom has signed an agreement with Delaware to install 50 megawatts; the main facility at Red Lion will generate 47 megawatts, the one at Brookside will generate 3 megawatts.

The Bloom process starts with a pair of plates about 4 x 4 inches; gas enters a narrow space between the plates and generates up to 25 watts of ions or electric current. The standard industrial “energy server box” generates 200 kilowatts, implying that 8000 cells are used. This box appears as several modules adding up to a 8 foot wide by about 7 foot tall by 26 foot long arrangement mounted on a pad. The output power is at 380 volts. The modules might appear to a casual observer to be a number of very large computer workstations. Walking close by one of these boxes, one might hear the DC/AC inverters. They are unobtrusive enough to be sometimes mounted along a sidewalk.

Presently, Bloom uses de-sulphurized natural gas as input. Use of other fuels is in the research stage. Also, installations are to supplement utility power; the Bloom boxes are synchronized to the utility delivery frequency. If the utility power goes down, the Bloom boxes also disconnect from the load., but stay in phase with the utility. If some areas of the customer are power critical, the Bloom box can be segregated to stay running, then work to bring it back into phase after the utility resumes service. An area of research is to develop the Bloom boxes to act as a uninterruptible power supply. 

Maintenance is via contract with Bloom, or by trained customer personnel. Bloom monitors the operation of the Bloom boxes from a central location using a secure T1 data line. 

This meeting was held at Delmarva Office Center; thanks to Steve Steffel and Delmarva crew for hosting this event.