NFCRC In the News
June 27, 2019, Business Wire
Bloom Energy Announces Hydrogen-Powered Energy Servers
to Make Always-On Renewable Electricity a Reality
SAN JOSE, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The race to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is the defining challenge of our generation. The world needs more clean and renewable power quickly, but the accelerated deployment of renewables comes with multiple challenges, including reliability, resiliency, scalability and land use.
At peak times, we already have more renewable power than the grid can handle in some US states and countries. Despite those periods of excess wind and solar power, because we lack an ability to store electricity for more than a few hours, dispatchable power from the combustion of fossil fuels continues to bridge gaps in supply.
At the same time, we experience more power outages than ever before. Wildfires, tornados, hurricanes and winter storms cause hundreds of outages every year, with more outages lasting days, not minutes or hours. Now, more than ever, we need power that is renewable, reliable and resilient.
Bloom Energy already provides the world's most efficient commercially available electricity generation device, the Bloom Energy Server, which delivers low CO2
and pollutant-free emissions. Today, Bloom Energy announced a new capability that efficiently delivers always-on, 100% renewable electric power with no emissions 24 hours per day, 365 days per year.
"The production, storage and dispatch of hydrogen from excess renewable power is the most scalable, affordable and efficient solution to the problem of balancing renewable power supply and demand," said Jack Brouwer, Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and Director of the National Fuel Cell Research Center (NFCRC) at the University of California, Irvine. "100% renewable and clean energy goals are not realistic for any jurisdiction without massively scalable renewable energy storage and dispatch solutions of this type."
"Scaling clean and renewable power is critical to reducing the impact of climate change, but we need a combination of flexible and reliable always-on power solutions to get us there," said KR Sridhar, Founder, Chairman and CEO of Bloom Energy. "Today, fuel cells, wind and solar power reduce CO2 emissions largely independently of one another. Going forward, those same technologies will work symbiotically to balance supply and demand."
How Does it Work?
||Why Does it Matter?
|Bloom Energy announces the ability of its Energy Servers to operate on renewable hydrogen
||Renewable hydrogen is a 100% clean fuel with no greenhouse gas emissions
|In areas with large amounts of wind and solar power, excess renewables can be used to produce hydrogen from water via electrolysis
||Renewable hydrogen is becoming cheaper to produce and more readily available
|California is already unable to use all of the renewable electricity it generates1 because it lacks the ability to store it for extended periods of time
||Renewable hydrogen can be stored indefinitely where it is produced, or in large storage and pipeline networks like the natural gas system
|Bloom Energy Servers deliver always-on electric power 24 hours per day, 365 days per year
||Our connected economy needs reliable, affordable, always-on electricity, which wind and solar alone cannot provide.
|Bloom Energy Servers can run independently of the electrical grid indefinitely
||Traditional back-up and storage technology cannot support customers through extended grid outages
Current Bloom Energy Servers generate electricity using natural gas or biogas as fuel. Deployed by 25 of the Fortune 100, Bloom Energy Servers already reduce greenhouse-gas emissions by amounts comparable to zero-emission wind and solar power on an annual basis.2
The ability to operate on renewable hydrogen means Bloom Energy Servers installed today to run on natural gas can be readily upgraded in situ to use renewable hydrogen in future.
Renewable hydrogen is becoming more available in some states and countries. It is produced by breaking down water into hydrogen and oxygen using electrolysis and renewable power. More than 200 water electrolysis projects have come online since 2000 with many more larger electrolysis projects announced in the US and Europe.3
Bloom Energy Servers can operate on pure hydrogen or a combination of natural gas and hydrogen. As the availability of renewable hydrogen increases, it could also be blended into the natural gas pipeline network. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory4
has concluded that blending up to 15% hydrogen into the natural gas supply will not significantly impact household appliances, public safety, or the durability and integrity of the natural gas pipeline network.
When Will the Market for Hydrogen-Powered Fuel Cells Mature?
Bloom Energy anticipates early demand for hydrogen-powered fuel cells in Asia, where hydrogen production and utilization are being actively developed by countries including France, Japan, Korea and Australia.
In the United States, many experts anticipate increased utilization of hydrogen playing a critical role in the decarbonization of the energy sector.
Modularity and Availability
Conventional power plants, even those operating on renewable hydrogen, require enormous amounts of space, whereas Bloom Energy Servers can be placed virtually anywhere where renewable hydrogen, natural gas or biogas is available. A typical 250kW Energy Server produces enough electricity to power a big box store in an area about the size of a parking space. Any number of Energy Servers can be clustered together in various configurations to form solutions from hundreds of kilowatts to many tens of megawatts in a compact footprint.
Bloom Energy Servers being shipped today can be adapted to run on hydrogen with a system upgrade.
1 California ISO
2 Bloom Energy
3 International Energy Agency
4 National Renewable Energy Laboratory
About Bloom Energy
Bloom Energy's mission is to make clean, reliable, and affordable energy for everyone in the world. The company's product, the Bloom Energy Server, delivers highly reliable and resilient, 'Always-On' electric power that is clean and sustainable. Bloom's customers include twenty-five of the Fortune 100 companies and leaders in cloud services and data centers, healthcare, retail, financial services, utilities and many other industries. For more information, visit www.bloomenergy.com