Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Bloom Box: New fuel cell technology that is a real step forward

Bloom Energy generates clean, reliable power onsite with minimal environmental impact, making the Bloom Energy Server™ one of the most sustainable solutions on the market today. Compared to alternative sources, Bloom delivers enhanced sustainability benefits in many ways: high efficiency, greenhouse gas emissions reductions, avoided air pollutants, small physical footprint, and reduced water use.

Bloombox fuel cells
Higher Efficiency

Bloom Energy Servers convert natural gas or renewable biogas into electricity using a direct electrochemical reaction without combustion. This highly efficient process is not bound by the same thermodynamic constraints1 for creating electricity and thus enables exceptionally high conversion efficiency. Today, Bloom ships systems with an industry-leading 60+ percent electrical efficiency, based on the lower heating value (LHV) of the fuel — a figure that has increased markedly since our first commercial shipments in 2008. Looking forward, we see a clear pathway to deliver even higher efficiency.

By contrast, the average coal-fired power plant — with over a century of R&D behind it — converts only 33 percent of its energy input into electricity.2 Yet because no one wants a coal plant in their "backyard", this electricity is generated a great distance away from the end user and must be transported via hundreds of miles of power lines, causing a portion of this power generated to become lost — anywhere from 7 - 10 percent in the developed world, and up to 50 percent3 in developing economies. Since Bloom Energy Servers typically generate power at the customer's site, energy is generated and provided directly where it is needed, thus avoiding these losses altogether.

As the world transitions to a renewable energy future, the most sustainable pathway is to consume our precious resources more efficiently. Not only is it more sustainable, but it's also smarter — fuel savings mean money savings.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The DIY Engineer Who Built a Nuclear Reactor in His Basement

Some people—myself not excluded—go to an office everyday because they can't think of anywhere else to go. We practice the prompt repression of wild ideas in exchange for remunerative employment, which to some is considered to be a kind of meaningful existence. Doug Coulter is not that sort of worker.

He may have started out behind a desk when he worked in the security business as a beltway bandit, coming up with signal processing and radio gadgets for our favorite three-lettered intelligence agencies, but in recent years, Doug's chosen to explore his engineering interests in the isolated backwoods of Virginia, absent from any pesky boss or sticky bureaucracy.

Doug's gone from being paid to play with other people's expensive toys to making his own. And although he may call them toys because of the amount of fun he derives from them, his creations are hardly ordinary playthings. Then again, Doug is no ordinary man.

After living with a meth head who had a trigger finger itchier than an Appalachian mosquito bite, Doug gave his ex-housemate the boot and confiscated his weapons, thus paving the way for his new found love for gunsmithing. Being that Virginia is one of America's more gun-friendly states, Doug's new skills made him a popular guy in the neighborhood. And instead of hoarding his knowledge of firearms, Doug has since open sourced his gun and ammo making techniques on his well-trafficked engineering forum.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Johan Oldenkamp: Electricity and Magnetism

Illustration: www.imcce.fr/
Johannes Kepler (1571 – 1630) discovered mathematical regularities in the planetary orbits within our solar system. In an attempt to explain these regularities, Isaac Newton (1642 – 1726) claimed that they were caused by gravity (after pondering over a fallen apple). If Newton would have understood electrodynamics, he would not have made this huge scientific misstep. Nowadays we know that the effect of so-called electromagnetism is 1036 time stronger than the gravity effect. Compared to this “electromagnetism”, gravity is completely negligible. Strangely enough, for the last three centuries, mainstream university “science” never corrected Newton’s misstep. Instead, this belief system called scientism rather invented more scientific fiction, like gravity waves, dark matter, dark energy, antimatter, black holes, spacetime curvature, and a “Big Bang”. However, just a small amount of common sense is enough to distinguish this fiction from genuine science. Let us therefore go back to the findings of Kepler, and combine them with contemporary understanding of electricity and magnetism.

Read further on: Pateo.nl