Bloom Energy’s announcement last month of their new solid oxide fuel cell technology has the potential for being a disruptive technology for the national grid and for changing the way we think about energy consumption. In addition to providing a secure, local and more efficient source of electricity, the Bloom Energy Server will provide us with a solution to the enormous amount of fresh water our current electricity generation system uses.
According to the Virginia Water Resources Research Center, a coal-fired power plant consumes 500 billion liters of water per day or approximately 95 liters for every kilowatt of electricity generated. The Bloom Energy Server recycles the water it uses for the reaction that generates electricity. A single Energy Server is charged with 120 gallons of water and continues to reuse the water. When evaluating the efficiency of these new fuel cells, we need to make sure attention is paid to its efficient use of water resources.
In my home, I use an average of 30kWh of electricity per day. According to the information above, my energy use consumes 2,850 liters or 750 gallons of water per day. Therefore, in one day’s energy usage, I consume more than six times the water used just to start up a Bloom Energy Server!
I’m looking forward to Bloom’s future residential Energy Servers that will allow consumers to produce their own power at the point of consumption and reduce their water resource footprint.