The top energy news today is undoubtedly the public unveiling of Bloom Energy's new hydrogen fuel cell.
Eight years in the making (yet unveiled about a week after Bill Gates spoke on the need for energy miracles), the Bloom fuel cell is made out of a sand-based ceramic and can power 100 homes with a unit that fits in a parking spot.
Here are some of the specs:
cheap power: 8 to 10 cents per kWh, cheaper than average energy costs in many US states.
longevity: each "bloom box" has a project life span of 10 years
efficiency: the cell produces electricity from natural gas or biogas with 50 to 55% efficiency. That's about the same as a combined cycle natural gas plant, and well over the 30% efficiency of the coal fired plants that still supply over 50% of US and 23% of Canadian power.
compactness: A 100-kilowatt Bloom Energy Server will fit in a parking space. That's enough power for just under 100 homes – depending on local energy use. By comparison, one large wind turbine generates 1000kW, but can't be parked quite as easily.
Green inc. has good coverage of the promising, but still unproven nature of the Bloom Box.
From Post-Recycled Waste to Ethanol Less glamorous, but still interesting, is news that Quebec's waste-to-ethanol processor Enerkem has attracted venture funding to the tune of $51.5 million from investors like Huston-based waste giant Waste Management.
Enerkem has perfected a process that transforms post-recycled waste into ethanol. The company has a plant operating in Quebec already, with others in Alberta and Mississippi on the way. The Edmonton plant will create 9.5 million gallons of fuel-grade ethanol.
The Enerkem approach is recycling taken to a fundamental level. One company rep. described is as “recycling the carbon molecules in this garbage."
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