Bloom Energy Rolls Out 'Server' For Clean Power

The Bloom Energy Server uses a combination of air and fuel sources such as hydrogen, methane and natural gas to create electricity via solid oxide fuel cells. Coca-Cola, Google, Walmart, Staples and eBay are already using enterprise-size versions of the product, and Bloom Energy says it plans to equip homes with the technology by 2020.

The Bloom Energy Server launch event was held at eBay's San Jose, Calif. campus and attended by California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, former U.S. Secretary Of State Colin Powell, and several of the company's first customers.

Commercial versions of Bloom Energy Server that can generate 100 kilowatts of electricity sell for between $700,000 and $800,000.

"Bloom Energy is dedicated to making clean, reliable energy affordable for everyone in the world. We believe that we can have the same kind of impact on energy that the mobile phone had on communications," said Dr. K.R. Sridhar, principal co-founder and CEO of Bloom Energy, in a statement.

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While solid oxide fuel cell technology isn't new to the market, the Bloom Energy Server is unique in its ability to tolerate a variety of gases. However, the extremely high temperatures required to run each box also make it sensitive to heating and cooling.

Bloom Energy, which has kept most of its clean energy process under wraps until now, says the Bloom Energy Server stands out from the pack because it uses lower cost materials, provides unmatched efficiency in converting fuel to electricity, runs on a wide range of renewable or traditional fuels and is more easily deployed and maintained.

Compared with more common technologies that utilize wind or sun, which aren't always available for power, Bloom Energy Server provides a constant source of power. Even when running on fossil fuels, the Bloom Energy Server is 67 percent cleaner than the average power plant using coal, according to the company.

Bloom Energy has raised nearly $400 million to date, and early investors include Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Morgan Stanley, NEA, and Northgate Capital.