Bloom Energy Server, eBay Installation – Credit: Bloom Energy
Bloom Energy’s fuel cell is making waves this week, starting with a 60 Minutes profile and culminating in today’s official coming out party. (FYI: My colleague Katie at Earth2Tech has some excellent live coverage.) One thing you might have noticed is how Bloom is branding its fuel cell as an “Energy Server.” Is it a smart move?
The machinery traditionally used to generate electricity conjures visions of industrial dinosaurs, both in terms of the tech driving it and its size. Think turbines, generators, engines and the sort. Contrast that with a server, a tidy machine that’s neatly stacked in the pristine racks of a data center. Servers are the workhorses that give the Internet life, brokering e-commerce transactions, disseminating Tweets, logging status updates… you get the idea. It’s not hard to see how aligning Bloom’s fuel cell with the high-tech IT realm — inevitable, really, considering the company’s pedigree — is a clever strategy for the cleantech company.
As you’re undoubtedly aware by now, the growth of web services and cloud computing is driving demand for power-hungry data centers, which will place added demand on the grid. And while Google may not have warmed to the idea of deploying “Bloom Boxes” in its data centers yet (“box” is another common term used for a server), eBay certainly appears smitten by the carbon reduction technology for its IT operations. Heck, it might even be the (pricey) solution to Facebook’s coal-powered problem (sub. req’d).