Bloom “Box”: Reverse Engineering the Economics

Last July Bloom Energy announced the placement of a 200 kW “Energy Server” (Bloom’s preferred language for “generator”) at Keio University in Japan, another at a large Softbank building in Fukuoka (Softbank is a major Japanese mobile phone service provider), as well as the creation of a 50/50 joint venture with Softbank to establish Bloom… Continue Reading

“Open Sourcing” of Fuel Cell Technology: A Call to Action

“Ideas are works of bricolage.  They are, inevitably, networks of other ideas. .. the strange thing is that the past two centuries .. wisdom about innovation has pursued the exact opposite argument .. by assuming…in the long run, innovation will increase if you put restrictions on the spread of new ideas, because those restrictions will… Continue Reading

Fuel Cells in the (Japanese) Home!

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Many in the US are unaware of the fact that residential fuel cells are being routinely sold in Japan, especially in new home construction.  They are called ENE-FARM or “energy farms” that produce about 750 W of electricity with heat recovery.  The ENE-FARM fuel cells are all Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) technology, but solid oxide… Continue Reading

Japan’s Basic Energy Plan: Not All About Nukes

On February 26 the Japanese government published its latest Basic Energy Plan (BEP) for review and approval by the Cabinet.  Approval is expected, sometime this month.  The foreign headlines tended to focus almost exclusively on its statement that nuclear power remains an important source of energy.  This new BEP should have come as no surprise,… Continue Reading

Time To Play The Green Tea Card?

Ever wonder about the fact that the ideology of the two US political parties happens to be directly contrary to the implied ideology of their energy policies?  We have a party on the right that espouses limited government, personal responsibility, local control and minimal regulation. The party on the left promotes the advantages of government,… Continue Reading

Where are the smart nuclear advocates?

Enthusiasm for nuclear power among its advocates has found new energy lately and has generated reams of what they view as important arguments in newspapers, TV ads and industry forums. Instead of focusing on nuclear’s primary barrier to widespread use – economics – all manner of peripheral arguments are being made.  Their arguments can be… Continue Reading

Probabilistic Assessment of Global Nuclear Power Plant Construction Through 2030

The following is the Executive Summary of a recent report.  The full content can be freely downloaded at: Global Nuclear Industry 1      Executive Summary 1.1      Research Objectives The nuclear power industry has begun to receive serious attention once again with the promise of new reactor designs and has increasingly been named among the portfolios of national… Continue Reading

Nuclear Renaissance? Probably not…

“Renaissance” is a term frequently used to describe the growth in nuclear power plant construction worldwide.  I recently completed an examination of the nuclear power market and determined that this word (meaning “reborn” in French) has been misapplied.  No nuclear power plants began construction in the US between 1979 and 2011 – now there are… Continue Reading

Fuel Cells and 7-Eleven

About 8 years or so ago, some friends and I were trying to get traction with a fuel cell implementation scheme.  We knew of suppliers who had 1 to 5 kW fuel cell power supplies and we knew at least one supplier of a proven hydride canister storage system.  The concept was pretty straightforward: find… Continue Reading