Bloom Box could fuel the future

Much has been made of fuel cells and the place they will take in our not-so-distant-future, but until now the technology has relied on pure fuel sources like clean hydrogen which is difficult and expensive to make. Now, a Silicon Valley company called Bloom Box is promising that we will all have access to cheap, clean, renewable energy within ten years.

Last night, the company's founder KR Sridhar told American television magazine 60 Minutes that, although the current hardware is the size of a double wardrobe and costs up to $800,000 to make, within ten years a smaller domestic unit will be available for less than $3,000.

Google is already using the technology - which is based on stacks of specially-coated ceramic glass sandwiched between two cheap metal alloy plates - at one of its server farms and eBay reckons its five boxes have saved them over $100,000 in energy bills in the last nine months.

The big news is, however, that these fuel cells can be powered using natural and renewable resources like methane from landfill. They also have a footprint five times smaller than solar panels for the same output.

Bloom Box is set to make a big announcement about the new (we'll gloss over the fact that the company has been toiling with the tech for ten years) hardware this Wednesday and, believe us, we've already checked the calendar to make sure it's not April 1st.

The skeptics among us can only assume that the big energy companies will snatch up the patents for billions just to make sure we're not all generating our own back-yard power within a decade, but we can but live in hope.