Credit: Katie Fehrenbacher, GigaOm.
Bloom Energy is making a big push to establish a foothold along the Eastern Seaboard. Today, Bloom is holding a ground-breaking ceremony a its new “Bloom Box” solid oxide fuel cell manufacturing plant in Newark, Delaware, at a site that was once a Chrysler assembly plant (Bloom’s other manufacturing is in California, and this essentially doubles the company’s capacity). The company also announced several new customers in the East.
Plans for the Delaware manufacturing hub were actually revealed last summer, and the hope then was that the facility would employ 900. No specific job numbers were mentioned in today’s announcement, but the numbers discussed in 2011 are in line with the number of workers at Bloom’s California facility.
Interestingly, the property is owned by the University of Delaware, which is also developing a Science and Technology Campus on grounds, and the hope is that the Bloom facility will provide an anchor for the campus.
One of the deal-sealers for this development is an agreement between Bloom and Delmarva Power & Light, an East Coast utility, for a whopping 30 MW of Bloom Boxes.
The company also announced several new customers, including Owens Corning, Urban Outfitters, Washington Gas and AT&T (the latter already uses Bloom units in California facilities). Stories surfaced in March that Apple also had reached a deal to install Bloom energy servers in a North Carolina facility.
The company also is rolling out a new line of SOFC units that, according to the company, feature a 20 percent gain in efficiency and double the energy density (based on footprint of the installation).
It also touts that the fuel cells change the energy paradigm for their customers in that the Bloom Boxes will provide the basic power for the companies’ core operations. In other words, instead of the electrical grid providing the basic power and the fuel cells providing backup power, the SOFCs become the primary source and the grid becomes the backup.
Katie Fehrenbacher at GigaOm has the story in an interesting post and the above video interview with Bloom’s Asim Hussein, the company’s director of product marketing.