In a feature on companies that will disrupt existing businesses, Business 2.0 cites power company Bloom Energy
THE DISRUPTION: Energy generators in homes and businesses
THE DISRUPTED: Electric utilities
Making electricity in central power plants is so 20th century,says the report. K.R. Sridhar has a better idea: Create energy on the spot, right where it’s consumed. His startup, Bloom Energy (formerly known as Ion America), is developing a fuel cell that could kick-start the distributed-energy industry.
The problem with today’s centralized approach is its vast inefficiency. In coal-and gas-fired power plants, almost two-thirds of the energy produced by converting fuel into kilowatts escapes as heat. Another 8 percent, on average, dissipates as the electricity travels over transmission lines to get to your home.
Sridhar, a former aerospace engineering professor who developed a device for NASA to turn carbon dioxide into oxygen on Mars, is undaunted by big challenges. His plan for generating energy locally is to use solid-oxide fuel cells–a concept that has been kicking around since the 19th century but is now becoming practical with advances in the ceramics needed to build the things.
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