Company: Bloom Energy

Industry: Clean Energy

What: Bloom Energy Server – a solid oxide fuel cell that uses hydrocarbons to generate electricity on the site where it will be used.

Competition: The clean energy sector is booming with various companies trying many different technologies. The entry bar is restricted only by scientific imagination & funding. However, not all technologies have been proven yet, and not all are likely to be commercially viable. So, while it is easy to enter the sector, the bar for success is very high.

The company is more likely to face competition from solar, wind, and other proven clean energy technologies. However, solar and wind power have higher installation & operating expenses, driving up the unit cost of power.

Benefits vs Competitors:
• Technology has been proven: (
– Bloom servers have been powering Google headquarters in Mountain View, California since July 2008
– Also in use by Staples, eBay, Wal-Mart, FedEx, Bank of America, Coca-Cola, Cox Enterprises, and the University of Tennessee Chattanooga

• Fuel technology being used is old, but has not been commercially viable. Bloom is the first company to which has managed to scale down costs
“This is because while fuel cell technology is not new — it has been around for decades — and no company had managed to scale down the costs and scale up production to make it viable. Not even giants like General Electric and Siemens, two companies that are closely watching Bloom bloom.”

“A Gerson Lehrman Group analyst wrote that GE dismantled its fuel cell group five years ago and Siemens have almost dismantled theirs. United Technologies is the only large conglomerate that has fuel cell technology that could compete with Bloom Energy. Toshiba only has technology to provide energy for a small device, not a neighborhood.”

• Low installation cost: A 100kW server would currently cost $700,000.0 – $800,000.0. With mass production, the costs can probably be halved

• Low operating costs: Customer responses say that the technology has managed to save energy costs, while increasing efficiency
“The CEO of eBay says Bloom Energy Servers have saved the company $100,000 in electricity bills since they were installed in mid-2009”

• Multiple fuels: The same servers can be powered by both natural gas and biogas, giving flexibility to customers.
“According to eBay CEO John Donohoe, the company uses five Bloom Boxes that run on landfill waste-based bio-gas and generate more power than the company’s 3,000 solar panels”

• Hydrogen production: The technology can be used to generate hydrogen as well, which can be probably used as infrastructure to provide fuel for hydrogen powered vehicles in the future (


With greater awareness for environmental issues, the need for green technologies across all sectors is likely to shoot up. Greater political and social pressures are forcing companies to be more eco-friendly. The most common reason for being “un-green” cited so far are high costs compared to conventional energy. Bloom Energy provides a solution to that problem, reducing installation and possibly operating costs, and moreover, putting the power source within the customer’s hands, providing flexibility regarding choice of fuel, and timing of operating the source. There is a reason why option buyers have to pay a premium – the flexibility it offers them has value. Bloom Energy, by extension of that premise, is a store of value, which I intend to tap.

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