Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Bloom Energy - AC Transit Is Their Terminus

I blogged that AC Transit was Bloom Energy’s smoking gun.  This greenwashed company essentially faked their greenness and now AC Transit data further proves this to be true.   Real month by month data for the period April 2013 till October 2014 provided under the CA PRA by AC Transit to the Green Machine

The contract language that I reviewed under the PRA also is very interesting.  Bloom mentions the “desulfurization bed canister” but never revealed the quantity and composition of the solid waste with sulfur.  The contract also has reference to Bloom’s previous but now changed spec sheet for the ES 5700 fuel cell.  Also the contract clearly shows that the system installed at AC transit will generate 420 kilowatts with a maximum usage of 2.64 million BTUs of pipeline natural gas per hour.   This is a claimed minimum lifetime efficiency of 60.12% based on the lower heating value of natural gas.  Even at startup the boxes did not meet this minimum efficiency.  In October 2014 the monthly efficiency was 42.6% based on the lower heating value of natural gas.  After Bloom was caught greenwashing in the NBC Bay Area report they changed their spec sheet to claim an efficiency range of 52% to 60%.  Well 42.6% is much lower than 52% and the spec sheet needs further revision!

The system is also not as reliable as Bloom promised AC Transit.  The same PRA data show the monthly capacity factor of the Bloom Coffins.  Bloom promised a 97% capacity factor when claiming AC Transit would save 1,500 tons a year of CO2 emissions.    The capacity factor for the month of October 2014 was only 72.8%.  The chart below shows the decay of the reliability of the Bloom coffins.

The AC Transit information proves that Bloom fibs about efficiency, fibs about reliability, fibs about carbon savings, but most of all simply lies about solid wastes with sulfur.   The AC Transit information also implicates a global NYSE listed engineering company in the BLOOMDOGGLE.  Jacobs Engineering Group Inc. was hired for $125,000 to provide design, procurement, and construction support for the Bloom coffins at AC Transit.  I have contacted a senior commercial executive at Jacobs to find out if Jacobs knew of the fibs and lies that Bloom Energy tells unsuspecting customers.  When I hear back from Jacobs I will report on this.


  1. What is the horizontal scale on the efficiency graphs? Days? Hours? Months? The degradation in efficiency is to be expected as the fuel cell stacks age.

    I was reading on a different blog that the Bloom stacks should last 3-5 years. (This seems right, based on my limited knowledge of fuel cells.) Have you ever seen a cost figure for replacing the Bloom fuel stacks? Is is half the price of a Bloom box? Less? More? Seems to me this should be part of the equation, that will not be favorable to fuel cells.

    Also, have you ever gotten an answer to the important thermal question: where does the heat go? If the Bloom fuel cell stacks run at 800C, that heat has to go somewhere. If they run at 200C, it still has to go somewhere? Where does it go? I've always thought fuel cells could be a good CHP solution for commercial buildings, because they product water, heat, and electricity, which is the critical needs for commercial air conditioning system. (I have seen an Avista Labs fuel cell installation that did just this for a hotel.) But it looks like fuel cells are still not cost effective, even for CHP.

  2. The X axis is days since start up. Bloom clearly state they cannot do CHP

  3. The X axis is days since start up. Bloom clearly state they cannot do CHP

  4. The X axis is days since start up. Bloom clearly state they cannot do CHP

  5. If one was following the Fuel Cell business over time, one could confirm that this burning money is happening all over the industry, since the "70....

  6. What a great initiative here. I'll look around the site and see if I can offer any additional ideas. Thanks.
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