When you think of emission-free fuel cell technology for cars, you probably imagine a device that’s about the size of a battery – or at least one that’s small and light enough to fit in a car. Now imagine a gigantic fuel cell fully the size of a standard parking space, and you’ve got enough clean energy for a fleet of cars, or for that matter, an entire building. That’s the motivation behind Adobe Systems’ new “Bloom Box” fuel cells at its campus in San Jose, California.
Bloom Energy Fuel Cells
The new fuel cells are manufactured by Bloom Energy (they’re actually called “Bloom Energy Servers”). Instead of burning fuel to produce energy, fuel cells produce energy through an electrochemical reaction. The Bloom Energy Server is based on solid oxide fuel cell technology, which is relatively inexpensive compared to conventional hydrogen fuel cells. One problem that can beset solid oxide fuel cells is their high operating temperature, but Bloom appears to have worked out the kinks. Bloom’s product is also capable of storing energy like a battery, as well as producing it.
Adobe Systems Incorporated and Fuel Cells
Adobe Systems has installed 12 Energy Servers at its West Tower on the campus, which together will generate 1.2 megawatts of electricity. They are big, but they are light enough to be sited on an upper floor, which frees up basement space for other purposes. As an on-site source, the Bloom Energy Servers will help insulate the campus from energy supply interruptions from the grid, in addition to helping the company to cut its carbon footprint. Adobe joins a growing movement by the computer tech industry to manage the increased energy consumption that comes along with an increasingly computer-dependent world. Other examples are Yahoo’s new “chicken coop” energy efficient data center in New York, a new LEED-certified data center in Sacramento, and waste energy harvesting from computer servers in Helsinki.
Image: Flower box by forestedpath on flickr.com.