The Bloom Box: Energy Breakthrough or Silicon Valley Hype?

The blogosphere is abuzz over the disclosure by startup Bloom Energy that it has come up with a fuel cell technology that can replace conventional energy sources.

But can it really? The devil, as they say, is in the details–and few of those were made public in an interview the Silicon Valley company gave on CBS-TV’s “60 Minutes” program Sunday.

The company’s CEO, K.R. Sridhar, showed off a refrigerator-sized “Bloom Box” filled with fuel cells and designed to make electricity through a chemical process. The boxes can make energy anywhere, he said, and do so without giving off any emissions.

Already, a number of high-profile American corporations have begun testing the technology. A “60 Minutes” reporter, for example, visited facilities of eBay (EBAY), which has installed a number of Bloom Boxes; the e-commerce company put savings from the technology so far at $100,000. Others reported to have installed units include Google (GOOG) and Federal Express (FDX).

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