AT&T to Install More Bloom Boxes

AT&T has agreed to purchase an additional 9.6 megawatts of Bloom Energy Servers (shown above) to provide energy for its facilities and data centers (Image: Bloom Energy)

Bloom Energy continues to gain traction for its fuel cell technology with major data center operators. AT&T said today that it will purchase an additional 9.6 megawatts of fuel cell capacity, which will make it Bloom Energy’s largest non-utility customer.

In July 2011, AT&T announced plans to deploy 7.5 megawatts of  “Bloom Boxes” at 11 AT&T sites in California, including data centers. With today’s announcement, AT&T will now have more than 17 megawatts of Bloom Energy Servers helping to power 28 AT&T sites in California and Connecticut. Once fully operational, all of AT&T’s Bloom Box installations are expected to produce more than 149 million kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity annually, enough to power more than 13,680 homes per year.

“AT&T continues to be on the forefront of energy management and understands the need to find innovative ways to power the next generation,” said KR Sridhar, CEO of Bloom Energy. “The investment they are making now not only means they will have control on their own energy destiny, but will also help ensure a brighter and more energy rich future for all.”

The Bloom Energy Server is based on solid oxide fuel cell technology that converts fuel to electricity through an electro-chemical reaction, without any combustion. Because they are housed at the customer premises, the Bloom box can continue operating during grid outages.

“A key differentiator for fuel cells compared to other forms of alternative power is that fuel cell electricity production is virtually constant,” explained John Schinter, AT&T’s Senior Energy Director. “They provide steady recurring electricity production at a relatively predictable cost, replacing the traditional electricity bill, which can be volatile.”

In addition to Bloom Energy fuel cells, AT&T has deployed nearly 3.9 MW of solar installations and works with external groups, such as the Environmental Defense Fund and Rocky Mountain Institute to investigate highly-scalable energy efficiency projects.

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About the Author

Rich Miller is the founder and editor at large of Data Center Knowledge, and has been reporting on the data center sector since 2000. He has tracked the growing impact of high-density computing on the power and cooling of data centers, and the resulting push for improved energy efficiency in these facilities.

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  1. Daniel Evjen

    I keep reading these articles about the Bloom Box. My question is when is it going to be available for home owners? I remember hearing on the CBS 60 Minutes program that they would be available for around $3000 in just a few years. Well, I don't care if the costs goes up to $10,000, I think homeowners would buy.

  2. Chuck Murphy

    The idea that Bloom Boxes would just serve for full time generation is short sighted. Are they built solely for long term use? Why not for back-up generation use - in the same fashion as standby generators. This would protect homeowners both in terms of fluctuating energy prices and in terms of generation during natural disasters. It would give homeowners and businesses a wider range of choices in meeting their energy needs. And even if, or when, commercial energy sources are available they are not always the cheapest. But when natural disasters take the energy giants off line then Bloom Boxes would serve the business and homeowner needs.

  3. David Wilson

    Blooms development at N.A.S.A. should mean a Tax Payers cut; Pay down our National dept......With new liquid battery technology aiding the wind and solar industry,coal is done! Big steps to heal our planet. This technology should end Irans nuclear power needs. We will be happy to sell them Bloom Boxes,at 20% off,Ha Ha Ha.

  4. johnny

    coal is not done by a longshot, neither is will be years and years before this will be made public,or be so expensive that the working man cant afford it like solar and wind power,,$3000 sounds like a dream come true,im guessing the price will tripple or more before it goes to the masses

  5. How can I invest in Bloom box Energy

  6. Sergio vie

    When the home owner will be able to obtain this energy box?