Thursday, June 19, 2014

Bloom Boxes Seen at Keio University Shonan Fujisawa Campus

I currently am a guest professor at Keio University Shonan Fujisawa Campus' faculty of Public Policy Management, and teach a course there every Wednesday afternoon.  I was delighted when my teaching assistant yesterday mentioned to me that Keio SFC's new Bloom Energy fuel cell generator is now finished and in operation!

Indeed, the new installation was announced this week by Keio and Bloom Energy Japan (a 50/50 JV between Bloom and Masayoshi Son's Softbank).  The English press release is available here.

Bloom boxes are a solid oxide fuel cell powered by natural gas, with over 60% efficiency (better than a gas turbine, even with co-gen).  Not a completely "green" or "low carbon" technology, but one form of distributed generation.

With high electricity prices, and deregulation/liberalization of natural gas markets, this kind of installation should grow in popularity in Japan in coming years.  Does the greater efficiency over traditional gas generation justify a higher cost?  Were there subsidies?  I do not know.

The installation generates 200kW and will provide almost all the electricity for the "Delta" building at Keio SFC.

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