A new but still unseen technology that its creator claims can be an off-grid source of cheap, clean electricity in a device the size of a loaf of bread is about to get its close-up.
The formal debut of Bloom Energy's much-hyped fuel cell, known as the Bloom Box, will take place at eBay's headquarters in California on Wednesday, and will reportedly attract figures from the former secretary of state, Colin Powell, who is on the company's board, to the state's governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger.
The Bloom Box allegedly uses natural gas or plant waste as fuel while producing relatively little carbon dioxide.
But its real potential lies in its claimed ability to use any fuel source – gas, plants, wind, solar, etc – to generate power, which would theoretically enable the Bloom Box to operate entirely off the electricity grid.
So it is a clever fuel cell. Fantastic, great news, but it looks like a little over-hyping is going on. It may be very efficient but if it uses carbon based fuel it will still produce CO2 and Water in the same proportions as any other way of breaking down the fuel to energy. And I can't quite see how you can put wind, or sunlight, through a fuel cell either.
But let's hope, access to cheap, efficient, portable power supplies will do more to improve the lives of millions than any amount of waffle.