Chattanooga has a Bloom Box! The Chattanooga area power utility company, EPB, recently installed a 100kW energy server on the top floor of its parking garage. The device, developed by California-based Bloom Energy, already has ties to this area going back to 2006 when a partnership between Bloom Energy, the UTC SimCenter, EPB and the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) conducted the first field trial of the technology.
At the time, the 5 kW test device produced enough electricity to heat and cool a large house. Today, the box installed at the EPB will provide power to about 30,000 square feet of the building. The Bloom Box is a large energy cell powered by natural gas but reconfigurable to be powered by other alternative energy sources. According to Bloom Energy founder Dr. K.R. Sridhar, electricity is produced without combustion and with little to no emissions.
Dr. Sridhar spoke at the unveiling and described a future where Bloom Boxes could provide point-of-use energy generation virtually anywhere. He credited insights gained through research conducted by TVA and UTC for helping make the technology commercially available.
City and state leaders were on-hand and expressed hope that Bloom Energy would consider placing a manufacturing center in the Chattanooga area.