Sunday, February 28, 2010

A Bloom is a Bloom is a Bloom...

"Pick a card, any card." Bloom Energy CEO K. R. Sridhar displays Bloom Energy Fuel Cells

Last week 60 Minutes featured Bloom Energy in a breathless rock star treatment of the company's CEO, K.R. Sridhar. As reporter Lesley Stahl fawned over Sridhar, he showed off a tiny square box composed of fuel cells supposdly capable of powering an Amercian home. Few other facts were evident or presented.

Just out of frame lurked John Doerr of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (KPCB), preening like a new father celebrating his first baby boy. KPCB has somewhere between $100 million and $400 million invested in Bloom Energy, depending upon who you listen to.

Too good to be true? Perhaps, but here are the real questions:

When will it be ready for prime time - the home market?
What will it cost?
How durable will it be?
Do you buy it or lease it?
Can you get off the grid, or sell energy to the grid?
If it's this good, then won't energy consumption spike up?

And last but not least, why are so many celebrities endorsing the Bloom Box? That's enough to scare Warren Buffett.

Richard Wottrich

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