On Sunday 60 Minutes introduced the world to the “Bloom Box,” a “power-plant-in-a-box” that gets buried in your backyard, off the grid. That’s right, your own personal, clean power system.
As game-changing as it sounds, Bloom Energy is not the only crew working on such a box. In fact, some are working on a nuclear box — small, sealed reactor in a concrete block with a heat tube — that could provide cheap, long-lasting energy for communities in the developing world…if it weren’t for the whole security thing.
However, what makes Bloom’s box so interesting is the reverse reaction, in which the waste CO2 is put back through the system, producing more fuel. In other words, in theory, less greenhouse gas waste, more power. All of these systems (including those from Panasonic, Ceres, and ClearEdge) are a beacon of hope in the fight against climate change, but Bloom could be a cut above. Though, according to Wired, “transforming carbon dioxide into fuels isn’t easy and neither is conserving that energy from the first reaction to run the second one.”
Why should we believe that Bloom has the goods? The genius behind this project is K.R. Sridhar, a rocket scientist who had originally built a similar system to create oxygen for the planned manned mission to Mars. That’s right, a la Total Recall. When the mission got scrapped, Sridhar turned to this project, and he could be soon delivering it to your backyard.