Bloom Energy commenced hydrogen generation from the world’s largest solid oxide electrolyzer installation at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Mountain View, CA, outside San Francisco.
Bloom has a manufacturing site in Newark that assembles the systems.
This unit produces 20-25% more hydrogen per megawatt than commercially demonstrated lower-temperature electrolyzers, a release stated.
This electrolyzer demonstration showcases the maturity, efficiency and commercial readiness of Bloom’s solid oxide technology for large-scale, clean hydrogen production. The four-megawatt Bloom Electrolyzer, delivering the equivalent of more than 2.4 metric tons per day of hydrogen output, was built, installed and put into operation in two months as a way to demonstrate the speed and ease of deployment, the release stated.
“This demonstration is a major milestone for reaching net-zero goals,” said KR Sridhar, Ph.D.,CEO of Bloom Energy. “Hydrogen will be essential for storing intermittent and curtailed energy and for decarbonizing industrial energy use. Commercially viable electrolyzers are the key to unlocking the energy storage puzzle, and solid oxide electrolyzers offer inherently superior technology and economic advantages. Bloom Energy, as the global leader in solid oxide technology, is proud to share this exciting demonstration with the world: our product is ready for prime time.”
The current demonstration expands on Bloom’s recent project on a 100 kW system located at the Department of Energy’s Idaho National Laboratory (INL) which achieved record-breaking electrolyzer efficiency. In the ongoing project, 4,500 hours of full load operations have been completed with a Bloom Electrolyzer producing hydrogen more efficiently than any other process – over 25% more efficiently than low-temperature electrolysis, according to the release.
The INL steam and load simulations replicated nuclear power conditions to validate the capability of technology application at nuclear facilities, and the pilot results revealed the Bloom Electrolyzer producing hydrogen at 37.7 kWh per kg of hydrogen. Dynamic testing conducted at INL included ramping down the system from 100 percent of rated power to 5 percent in less than 10 minutes without adverse impacts. These results will be presented at the Department of Energy’s Annual Review Meeting in Washington DC on June 7, 2023.
This demonstration represents a “full circle moment” for the company, which can trace its roots to work performed as part of NASA’s Mars Space Program in the early 2000s. Sridhar and his team were charged with creating a technology that could sustain life on Mars. They built electrolyzers capable of producing oxygen and fuel from solar electricity on Mars, and operated the device in the reverse direction as a fuel cell to produce electricity. They went on to launch Bloom Energy in 2001. This hydrogen demonstration is at the NASA Moffett Field site where Bloom Energy started operations over 20 years ago in a 7,000 square foot garage.
Bloom has grown into a $1.2 billion company with sales across the U.S. and to four countries in Asia and two countries in Europe, and it has developed more than 2 GW of manufacturing capacity at its manufacturing plants in Fremont, Ca., and Newar.
Bloom’s energy servers support data centers, hospitals, retail, universities, and food producers.