Jason Barton

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Archive for the ‘Community Power Corporation’ tag

Bloom and the coming energy convergence

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The Bloom Box has been all over energy news for the past couple of weeks, ever since the piece on 60 Minutes about their electricity generators. As the author of the article below points out, this distributed technology is not new, and it isn’t the first time it’s been written about on this site. In an earlier post I mentioned Community Power Corporation, a Denver area company that has also has distributed power generation technology. The advantages CPC has over Bloom is that their generators can run on a variety of feedstocks, including many types of waste, including agricultural wastes and even food waste. Their generators also generate heat, referred to as combined heat and power, or CHP, so placing them next to larger buildings provides a second way to save on energy coming off the grid.

What’s most exciting about these technologies, in addition to lowered emissions and diversifying fuel sources, is the decentralization of the energy grid. Rather than a regional system that, when disabled, means thousands of homes and businesses may be out of power for hours or even days, a unit or set of units can power a school, community center, hospital, or apartment building.

Yes, this is exciting. And the publicity surrounding Bloom Energy tells me that while a few of us have been thinking about the advantages of such a system for quite some time, investors and government officials are now catching on, just as the technology is coming on line. Good stuff.

By Tyler Hamilton
Energy and Technology Columnist

Published On Mon Mar 01 2010

You would think, based on the love-in at eBay headquarters in California last week, that start-up Bloom Energy had solved the world’s energy problems, with one simple pronouncement.

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PAUL SAKUMA/AP PHOTO

Bloom Energy CEO K. R. Sridhar holds fuel cell at eBay in San Jose, Calif. EBay and Google already use container-size Bloom cells to generate electricity. (Feb. 24, 2010)

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger was all smiles and accolades. With him were Gen. Colin Powell, venture-capital icon John Doerr and top executives of high-profile American firms, including: Google, Coca-Cola, Wal-Mart and FedEx.

Silicon Valley was abuzz.

Read the entire article here.

Brazil opens world’s first ethanol-fired power plant

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Projects like this are encouraging, especially if the priority remains focused on decreasing energy consumption. Other companies, such as Community Power Corporation (CPC) of Colorado, already have modular electricity generators that use biomass as a feedstock. The high glucose content in sugarcane should make Petrobras and GE’s efforts that much more efficient. Brazil’s ethanol refineries generate about 3% of the county’s electricity by burning the biomass left over after the sugar is extracted from cane to make ethanol for transportation. So this project has the potential to create highly versatile powerplants that can produce electricity as well as liquid fuels, depending on the proportion demanded by each location. The aspect to keep in mind when considering these developments is that unlike CPC, which uses waste products to generate electricity, sugarcane needs to be grown on arable land, a limited and highly valuable resource.

* State-run Petrobras opens first ethanol power plant

* Petrobras, GE, hoping other governments will adopt

By Denise Luna

JUIZ DE FORA, Brazil, Jan 19 (Reuters) – Brazil on Tuesday opened the world’s first ethanol-fueled power plant in an effort by the South American biofuels giant to increase the global use of ethanol and boost its clean power generation.

State-run oil giant Petrobras (PETR4.SA)(PBR.N) and General Electric Co (GE.N), which helped design the plant, are betting that increased use of ethanol generation by green-conscious countries will boost demand for the product.

Brazil, the top global ethanol exporter, is already in talks with Japan to develop biofuels power generation there.

Read the entire article here.