The Bloom Box- a Power Plant in Your Backyard

March 2, 2010 at 8:43 am (Uncategorized)

       I have just finished watching a segment on 60 minutes that aired on Feb. 21st about a new technology that will supposedly change the way we produce electricity  and use energy.  This device is called a bloom box.  It is a small cube made up of panels that produces a chemical reaction using oxygen and fuel, and needs no outside source for power. This type of device is called a fuel cell, and the idea has been around for decades.  Up until recently, the new device was a highly secretive project, and Lesley Stahl does some real digging to find faults with the Bloom Box.

      Stahl first interviews K.R. Sridhar, who has been working on the box for many years.  She does a great job of getting the basics first; what the box actually does and how it could affect us.  Sridhar eager to state about his facts, like how a tiny box could power a U.S home,  and four Indian houses. There would be no need for power plants, because each house would have their own individual source of energy.  He also talks about how he originally invented a similar device for NASA, and how it was supposed to produce oxygen on Mars.  Stahl brings him back down to Earth with skeptic remarks like “It sounds awfully dazzling.”  She does not take a bias on it, but simply asks the questions all the viewers are wondering; “Is this do good to be real?”

     Stahl then goes on to interview John Doerr from the capital firm Kleiner Perkins, who is the person who discovered and invested in Google.  Stahl had done research and found out beforehand that and new that Google had cost him about 25 million.  She asks Doerr how much the bloom box would be, and he said at least 100 million, which really put things into perspective.  Still, Doerr is all for it, boasting that “the new energy technologies could be the largest economic opportunity of the 21st century.”

    Stahl then goes to the other side of the argument and interviews Michael Kanellos, editor-in-chief of the Web site Green Tech Media.  He complains that the project has been much too secretive and there have been no progress reports, updates, or even a signs on his building about the box.   She then digs into the problems of this acclaimed machine.   She finds that some boxes have stopped working for different companies, and Sridhar admits “I have some famous failures.”

     Still, there is no bias to this story, I can’t really tell which side Stahl is one.   The report shows both the good and bad sides to the box.  It is a huge step in the right direction to a better way of thinking, but it has some kinks to work out as well.  Despite these kinks, Stahl  remains an idealist.  “You know, it’s about seeing the world as what it can be and not what it is.”

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