Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Bloom Box

  1. Feb 21, 2010 #1
    What is your opinion of http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=6228923n&tag=related;photovideo" [Broken] segment which appeared on "60 Minutes today (February 21)? It would, if it proves out, apparently make the "fuel Cell" a feasible idea for mass use.

    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 22, 2010 #2


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member
    2017 Award

    The link fails for me - the movie doesn't seem to download.
    But, without seeing it, it looks like a something for nothing idea - which won't ever work.
    Your fuel will still cost you money and will need distribution.
  4. Feb 22, 2010 #3
    This is an interesting development, the real question is how much more efficient is this than current power generation tech? You still need fuel, for example gasoline, but a slow chemical reaction could be orders of magnitude more efficient than combustion.

    I guess we'll find out Wednesday. Every bone in my body wants to declare shenanigans, but this so far appears to be legitimate. What is especially interesting is that many companies such as Google, Ebay, and Walmart are already using the industrial version of the Bloom Box.
  5. Feb 22, 2010 #4
    I think we all probably have the same instinctive reaction. We can only wait and see. I can see a lot of pitfalls even if it is legitimate. As mentioned in the excerpt, GE, etal, for one. Also, I can't imagine that this will make OPEC very happy (it would greatly diminish the need for their products), and I don't see them taking something like this sitting down.

  6. Feb 22, 2010 #5
    I already commented about this in the general engineering forum, but would like to add here that fuel cells are already commonly used for stationary power and APUs.

    And OPEC won't really care about this technology because they still need some type of fuel, like natural gas. Fuel cells are energy conversion devices not energy sources.
  7. Feb 22, 2010 #6


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member
    2017 Award

    I managed to get the link to work eventually.
    I hate the way 'these things' are presented. No one draws any distinction between the renewable aspects of wind, solar and wave sources and this, which requires fuel fuel fuel. Can journalists really be that dumb?
    There has to be a question about how long the cells will work and how pure the fuel source must be to avoid contamination. That's always ignored in press releases and adverts. Would they give you a guarantee (money back) for enough years to cover your possible risk? It's very expensive, so it would seem.
    Presumably the big companies that are using the system are getting it on a subsidised trial basis and they won't care if it fizzles out within a year or two.
  8. Feb 22, 2010 #7


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor

    I find the following misleading:
    One nevertheless needs a chemical reaction - ostensibly between the oxygen (from the air) and the fuel - and the fuel will have to be 'cracked', or there is a direct oxidation.

    Therefore one needs a fuel supply, and there will be 'products' - water, and probably CO2.

    This is just another example of distributed generation. That's not a new concept. It's what people do with fuel cells. Perhaps the only innovation would be a cheap fuel cell that anyone can afford.
  9. Feb 22, 2010 #8
    If the box is as cheap as claimed, and if it is nearly as efficient as the other fuel cells, it could allow fuel consumption in motor vehicles to be halved - - cutting deeply into the demand for petroleum. (Of course, China and India may neutralize this saving - - Brazil and Russia won't need to use imported petroleum.)

    Also, these cells are claimed to use many fuels, such as methane (derivable from wastes and abundant at sea-bottoms).

    This could definitely pose a threat to OPEC.

  10. Feb 22, 2010 #9
    I agree, its use in stationary power applications is problematical, but in motor vehicles, maybe not. Its cheapness, if validated, would go a long way toward making this application viable.

  11. Feb 22, 2010 #10
    Its motor application is most likely useless, just as with 95% of other fuel cell technologies. Like most energy conversion devices, fuel cells do not like transient operation and harsh environments (cold, heat, fast temperature change). High temperature fuel cells, which this technology most certainly is, are really only suitable for constant and steady stationary power.

    Just by whats shown in the video you can see that the "bloom box" would undoubtedly not make it past 100 miles of city driving in a car.
  12. Feb 23, 2010 #11


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    Yes they sure can. :) In fact they almost always are like that when reporting stories like this. To see how easily people can be misled about the scope of this fuel cell just look at some of the responses on that site. Like this one,
    I'd like to see the details on how it can "run on solar", as he did actually say that in the story. I can only assume he was referring to the solar cracking of water to hydrogen, but I think you'd need a pretty impressive solar concentrator plant to do that, it certainly wouldn't be happening with just one of those nice neat boxes.
  13. Feb 23, 2010 #12


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member
    2017 Award

    "I guess we'd better all "Go out and get an education" then. We must stop being "ignorant", learn to believe in Bloom and forget awkward notions like the difference between 'Solar' and 'Fuels' and that will solve all the World's problems.
  14. Feb 25, 2010 #13
    I have a question, how the heck are they cooling these things? I mean, that block was like what 6"X6", and he says it will power a house, my house has 240v/200A service, and its supposed to be twice as efficient as other means of generation, so about 50%ish right? Thats 48,000W of heat from a 6x6 box! without some kind of fancy cooling system, I would think that these would melt into a really expensive blob.
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Similar Discussions: Bloom Box
  1. Blooming of CCD (Replies: 6)

  2. LED Acrylic Woofer Box (Replies: 4)

  3. 24v control/test box (Replies: 11)