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SEMINAR REPORT ON

BLOOM BOX
By AFZAL SHIHAB

DEPARTMENT OF MECHANICAL ENGINEERING MUSLIM ASSOCIATION COLLEGE OF ENGINEERING, VENJARAMOODU, THIRUVANANTHAPURAM- 695607 2011-2012

SEMINAR REPORT ON

BLOOM BOX
By AFZAL SHIHAB
Guided by Mr. SHABEER L.M.E

DEPARTMENT OF MECHANICAL ENGINEERING MUSLIM ASSOCIATION COLLEGE OF ENGINEERING, VENJARAMOODU, THIRUVANANTHAPURAM- 695607 2011 2012

DEPARTMENT OF MECHANICAL ENGINEERING MUSLIM ASSOCIATION COLLEGE OF ENGINEERING, VENJARAMOODU, THIRUVANANTHAPURAM- 695607 2011 2012

CERTIFICATE
This is to certify that the seminar entitled BLOOM BOX has been carried out by AFZAL SHIHAB under my guidance in partial fulfillment of the Degree of Bachelor of Technology in Mechanical Engineering of University of Kerala during the academic year 2011-2012.

Guide department Mr.Shabeer

Head of

L.M.E A. Jaleelullah

Prof.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT
I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to my seminar guide, Mr.Shabeer for the timely advice and assistance during the preparation of the manuscript of the seminar. My special thanks to the Coordinator, Mrs.Jessin for permitting me to present the seminar. I also express my sincere gratitude to Prof.Jaleelullah, Head of the Department, Department of Mechanical Engineering for his support and encouragement in presenting this seminar. I am also indebted to my teachers and friends without whose help and active participation, this seminar would not have been a success. Above all, I thank almighty God for the successful conduct of this seminar

AFZAL SHIHAB

PAGE INDEX

Topic ABSTRACT 1. 2 3 INTRODUCTION HISTORY OF FUEL CELL SOLID OXIDE FUEL CELL 3.1 3.2 3.3 4 SPECIFICATIONS OF SOFC WORKING OF SOFC CHALLENGES OF SOFC

Page No. 8 9 10 11 12 14 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 24 25 26 27 28

BLOOM BOX 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 K.R SRIDHAR & BLOOM BOX WHAT IS BLOOM BOX? HOW MUCH POWER? RECTIFICATIONS TECHNICAL HIGHLIGHTS

A PEEK IN TO THE FUTURE 5.1 5.2 ENERGY REVOLUTION REPLACE THE GRID?

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CONCLUSION BIBLIOGRAPHY

TABLE INDEX
Table BLOOM BOX 1.1 COMPARISONS 23 Page No.

FIGURE INDEX
Figure FUEL CELL 1.1 1.2 1.3 HYDROGEN OXYGEN FUEL CELL SOLID OXIDE FUEL CELL PLANAR FUEL CELL ARCHITECTURE BLOOM BOX 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 BLOOM BOX K.R SRIDHAR CERAMIC PLATES STACKS A PEEK IN TO NEAR FUTURE 3.1 3.2 SCHEMATIC FOR EMPOWERING A VILLAGE NEW ENERGY VISION 25 26 19 19 21 22 12 13 16 Page No.

ABSTRACT
Power generation has been the biggest problem faced by humanity in the 20th century. We are skeptical whether to save for future or nurture the present.to save the environment or move forward in the path of development. Developed countries refuse to fall back; developing countries refuse to stop competing. In this scenario the only practical solution is the development of commercially viable green energy technologies. The Bloom Box is a SOFC in such a direction; a commercially viable solution to meet the growing energy needs. Developed by Dr.K.R.Sridhar, an Indian origin scientist, co- founder and CEO of the Bloom Energy Corporation, the Bloom Box promises greener energy with reduced carbon foot print when running on natural gas. This Technology is carbon neutral when fuels derived from biomass is used. Many companies like Google, Adobe, eBay etc are currently using the ES 5000(100 KW) energy server, the companys first product in the market. The future technology lies in replacing the power grid and conventional power plants to start an era of distributed generation using Bloom Box in every household or region, eliminating the huge losses and reducing the environmental pollution.

INTRODUCTION
Before Dr.K.R.Sridhars invention of Bloom Box, over a hundred years ago, the fuel cells were invented .What is a fuel cell? A single fuel cell is made up of an anode and a cathode with an electrolyte in the middle. Fuel such as natural gas, biogas, or hydrogen is passed into the anode side and an oxidant is passed into the cathode side causing a reaction that moves electrons into the fuel cells circuit, thus producing electricity. There are several types of fuel cells, but the primary focus in this appendix is on solid oxide fuel cells (SOFC) and, more specifically, the Bloom Box produced by Bloom Energy, Corporation in Sunnyvale, California

In todays expanding global economy, the need of sustainable energy is more pressing due to the depletion of fossil fuels. We are in a energy crisis whether to save for future or to nurture the present. By using Bloom Box clean energy can be obtained in economic ways, thus eliminating the defects of power generation from fossil fuels such as global warming, the high time required for the production also the price. New sustainable energies should be looked at as possible solutions to this crisis as they can be used to either help alleviate the usage of fossil fuels or eventually replace them completely.

HISTORY OF FUEL CELL


The technical roots of fuel cells began in the 1930s when two Swiss scientists experimented with zirconium and other elements as electrode. In the 1950s, GE and some other companies started small-scale research project involving solid oxide fuel cells. Projects were discontinued because cell materials melted, short-circuited, and had high electrical resistance inside of them. In 1962, the first federally funded research contract was awarded to Westinghouse to study zirconium oxide and calcium oxide based fuel cells. About 10 years ago, a 100 kW tubular solid oxide fuel cell system operated for four years. The record for an individual fuel cell staying operational is 8 years. By now, many types of fuel cells have been developed. All of them are extremely expensive, with the more cost-competitive running about 15-20 times the cost of a typical gas turbine generator.

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Fig 1.1: Hydrogen-Oxygen Fuel cell

SOLID OXIDE FUEL CELLS


A SOFC (Solid Oxide Fuel Cell) runs at a temperature 500~1000 degree Celsius. The reactions are as in any other fuel cell; oxygen ions combine with hydrogen ions generating electricity and water. The difference comes in the use of solid anode, cathode& electrolyte as well as the high operating temperature. The fuels used are hydrocarbons. The actual reactants are carbon monoxide and hydrogen Solid Oxide fuel cells use a hard, ceramic compound of metal (like calcium or zirconium) oxides (chemically, O2) as electrolyte. Efficiency is about 60 percent, and operating temperatures are about 1000 degrees C (about 1800 degrees F). Cell output is up to 100 kW. At such high temperatures a reformer is not required to extract hydrogen from the fuel, and waste heat can be recycled to make additional electricity. However, the high temperature limited
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applications of SOFC units, and they tend to be rather large. While solid electrolytes cannot leak, they can crack. If natural gas is used as fuel instead of pure hydrogen, carbon dioxide and other off gases are produced.

Fig1.2 : Solid Oxide Fuel cell

SPECIFICATIONS OF SOFCS
Cathode Porous, electronic and ionic conductor.

LSM (lanthanum strontium manganate), LSM-YSZ (yttrium zirconium) composite etc. Reaction at Three Phase Boundaries only. ~200microns thickness. Transport O2- ions across the electrolyte to the anode

stabilized

Electrolyte.

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Dense layer of ceramic, ionic conductivity, min electrical YSZs, ScSZ(scandium stabilized zirconium), GDC (Gadolinium 15-25 micron thickness.

conductivity doped ceria)

Anode Porous, ionic and electronic conductor


Yttria (Y2O3) stabilized Zirconia (ZrO2) + Nickel- cermet. Ni catalyst participate in reforming reactions Reforming endothermic; so automatic anode cooling 120-320 microns thickness Reforming Reactions Methane: Propane: Ethanol: ADDITIONAL REACTION: 2CO+O2 CO2+2e-

CH4 + H2O (+heat) CO + 3H2

C3H8 + 3H2O (+heat) 3CO + 7H2

C2H5OH + H2O (+heat) 2CO + 4H2

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WORKING OF SOFC
A solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) is composed of four distinct parts: an electrolyte, an anode, a cathode, and an interconnect. Each part serves a distinct purpose in the fuel cell. Ultimately the purpose of an SOFC is to take a fuel input and produce electrical output. In general this occurs through the oxidation of hydrogen and carbon monoxide. The purpose of the anode of the fuel cell is to oxidize fuel in the presence of oxygen ions from the electrolyte (which were produced at the cathode of the SOFC). The oxidation occurs as dictated by the following equation: 2 H2(g) 4 H+ + 4 e 2CO+O2 CO2+2e2 molecules of H in gaseous state oxidize to form 4 ions of hydrogen and four electrons. Extra 2 electrons are obtained from oxidizing carbon monoxide to carbon dioxide. The purpose of the cathode of the SOFC is to reduce gaseous oxygen to oxygen ions which are then absorbed by the electrolyte. This reaction is governed by the following equation:

In cathode oxygen gas is supplied, which reduces and form oxygen ions. The over all reaction shows the production of water by the the combination of hydrogen and oxygen 2 H2(g) + O2(g) 2 H2O(l)
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CATHODE REACTION SITES: THE THREE PHASE BOUNDARIES (TPBS)


The reactions take place in the three Phase Boundaries only, which is in the cathode sites. Three phase boundaries are where the electrolyte, fuel gas and electrode come in contact with. The planar architecture of fuel cell is shown in figure; the directions of fuel and air are counter. The interconnection is another important part of an SOFC. The interconnect works mainly to conduct electricity between the different cells of the whole fuel cell system. The interconnection must be gas tight to prevent leakages from occurring. It must also be able to handle being exposed to highly oxidizing and reducing atmospheres just like the electrolyte. As the heat in the SOFC increases the interconnection must be made of more expensive materials and thus reducing temperature of solid oxide fuel cell.

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CHALLENGES IN SOFC TECHNOLOGY


The operating efficiency in generating electricity is among the highest of the fuel cells at about 60%. Furthermore, the high operating temperature allows co generation applications to create high-pressure steam that can be used in many applications. Combining a high-temperature fuel cell with a turbine into a hybrid fuel cell further increases the overall efficiency of generating electricity with a potential of an efficiency of more than 70% .SOFC produce higher efficiency comparable to fossil fuels, also it creates 100% clean energy because the final product is water which can even use for drinking purpose. But we dont use a sofc in our day today life, why because SOFC technology faces many challenges The first major issue that fuel cells have had in the past is the fact that they need precious metals. The cost of electrodes and electrolyte are very high. The interconnect material should be neutral in both oxidation and reduction enviroment.The interconnect material predominantly platinum drive the cost of manufacturing higher than would be profitable. SOFCs operate at extremely high temperatures (600C1000C) resulting in a significant time required to reach operating temperature and responding slowly to changes in electricity demand. This indicates that the start up time is very slow and requires thermal sheilding of high cost. Operations at high temperatures make the materials durable and reduce its strength and hardness which badly influence the long life. The grain size of the materials changes due to Nickel grain growth which in turns changes the properties of the material. The coefficient of thermal expansion mismatches, so

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the cell will not expand and contract as a single unit. This all defects made the Solid Oxide fuel cells very uncommon to the public.

BLOOM BOX
The Bloom Energy Server (commonly referred to as the Bloom Box) is a solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) made by the company Bloom Energy, of Sunnyvale, California that can use a wide variety of inputs (including liquid or gaseous hydrocarbons produced from bio sources) to generate electricity on the site where it will be used. It is highly efficient, low cost and has lower polluting emissions. This type of fuel cell can withstand temperatures of up to 1800F, which would cause many other types of fuel cells to breakdown or need maintenance, and is highly advantageous for its smooth operation According to the company, a single cell (one 100 100 mm metal alloy plate between two ceramic layers) generates 25 watts The company, started in 2002 by CEO K.R. Sridhar initially named as ion america.K.R.Sridhar Indian origin scientist is the master brain behind this invention. The company launched its first commercial product in 2010 named as ES-5000 energy server. The Bloom Box ES-5000 Energy Server offered currently is at a quoted price of $800,000 is a 100 kW unit.

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Fig 2.1: BLOOM BOX

K.R SRIDHAR & THE WAY TO BLOOM BOX

Fig 2.2: K.R .Sridhar (India, 1960)

Mechanical engineering at the National Institute of Technology at

Tiruchirappalli until 1982

Nuclear engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-

Champaign.

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1989 -graduated in mechanical engineering the University of

Illinois

1990- Director of the Space Technologies Laboratory (STL)

besides teaching aerospace and mechanical engineering.

1994- Contracted by NASA to develop a device capable of

generating oxygen for the Mars mission.

2001 -founded Ion America (renamed Bloom Energy in 2006)

Sunnyvale, raised $400 million in venture capital money. Its fuel cells (eventually unveiled in February 2010) were based on beach sand.

WHAT IS A BLOOM BOX?


Bloom Box is a combination of Solid oxide fuel cells, which produces clean and potentially affordable power by electrochemical process. The core of the technology is sand. The electrolyte is beach sand which is available in multiple continents in abundance. The beach sand is baked and cut it in to little squares, thus beach sand turned magically in to a ceramic. Anode and Cathode are layers of special green and black inks which are coated on the thin ceramic plate. The green colour represents the anode and black colour is the cathode. The composition of this ink remains secret.

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The steam and fossil or renewable fuel combine to form a

reformed fuel, which flows through the anode side.

Warm air flows across the cathode side. Electrolyte allow only oxygen ions from the cathode to pass

through the anode

The chemical reaction of reformed fuel and oxygen ions electricity, water ,heat and small amount of

produce process

carbondioxide.The water and heat can be reused to repeat the

Fig 2.3: ceramic plates

HOW MUCH POWER? The fuel cells are arranged in specific manner in order to produce more power.

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bulb.

One fuel cell can produce 25 watts which can power a light

40 fuel cells combine to form a stack, produces 1 kilo watts

power which can power one U.S home that is 10 INDIAN homes.

25 stacks combine to form a module, at a power of 25

kilowatts, which has a size of a refrigerator, can run a small store front business.

4 or more module combine to form a server of 100kw power,

it has a size of parking space, can power 30,000sq foot office building or 100 homes.

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As the number of stacks increases the power it produces also Stacks are the heart of BloomBox.

increases.

Fig 2.4: stacks

RECTIFICATIONS
Bloom Box rectified the defects of solid oxide fuel cell and make the idea of fuel cell commercially viable. Material cost of the electrode and electrolyte was great problem of SOFCs, this problem was solved by using beach sand as electrolyte and secret formula inks. Durability of the
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materials at high temperature rectified by an innovative design and heat utilization to maintain temperature than a fluctuating one. The interconnect material which should be neutral in oxidizing and reducing environment was Platinum, Platinum metal which is of high cost replaced by a lower cost alloy in Bloom Box. The slow start up time was changed to 1-2 hrs by the thermal energy in the box itself. The inks which are free from nickel grain growth. The problem of coefficient of thermal expansion was solved, all the new materials in the Bloom Box has compactable coefficient of thermal expansion.

COMPARISONS
criteria Co2 emission efficiency Working cost Bloom box 350Kg/MWhr 50-60% 6.0 /kWh coal solar 960Kg/ 12-14% Natural gas 600Kg/MWhr ~55% $1.20/KWhr

MWhr 30-35% 5.0 /kWh

Bloom energy- 5kW --- 80MWhr/yr Solar energy-5kW-----10MWhr/yr 67% cleaner than a coal powered thermal power plant, carbon neutral when biogas used.

TECHNICAL HIGHLIGHTS
Inputs
FUEL : biogas, naturalgas
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Input fuel pressure: 1.05460atm Fuel required Water required : 18.68229cu.meter/hr : 455L municipal water

Outputs
Rated power output (AC) Electrical efficiency : 100 kW : (LHV net AC) > 50%

Electrical connection: 480V @ 60 Hz, 4-wire 3 phase

Physical
Weight Size : 10 tons : 5.7m x 2.14m x 2.05m

Emissions
NOx SOx CO VOCs CO2 < 0.07 lbs/MW-hr negligible < 0.10 lbs/MW-hr < 0.02 lbs/MW-hr < 773 lbs/MW-hr on natural gas,

Neutral in the case of direct biogas

Environment
Standard temperature range Max altitude at rated power 0 to 40 C 6,000 ft. MSL
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Humidity

20% -95%

Codes and Standards


Complies with Rule 21 interconnection standards meets stringent CARB 2007 emissions standards Product Listed by Underwriters Laboratories Inc. (UL) to ANSI/CSA America FC 1

A PEEK INTO THE FUTURE

Fig 3.1: Schematic for empowering a village The figure shows the future out look of a village which is self sustainable. Production of energy by preserving agriculture.SOFC plats a vital role in this cycle. The Pyrolzer converts the Biowaste into Biogas, the waste Bio char is fed to the fields as fertilizer.Biodiesel obtained is fed to motor vehicles for
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agricultural needs.SOFCs consume Biogas and produce electricity, which is stored and supply to residents. The by product is water which under goes water treatment and fed for drinking purpose. Water can be also stored and can run a turbine generator assembly to produce electricity. The carbon dioxide obtained may supply to plants for their effective growth. Thus in future we can face the energy crisis, empowering a village in a environment friendly manner by preserving agriculture.

ENERGY EVOLUTION

Fig 3.2: New Energy Vision


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The figure shows an energy revolution ,Now we are in the era of fossil fuels such as coal, natural gas, fuel oils etc .The power is produced in the power plant and transferred to utility areas through transmission lines and grides,this causes power loss. The next stage is of Solid oxide fuel cells which consumes renewable fuels such as natural gas, the next step SOFCs which consumes renewable fuels can be used, the hydrogen obtained can be fed to motor vehicles .At last a continuous power production can be done by SORFCs,the end product water obtained from the cell is splitted in to hydrogen and oxygen by the process known as photolysis of water. Hydrogen is splitted from water by using solar power. Thus the system became self sustainable.

REPLACE THE GRID?


Transmission power loss is a major problem; Energy is lost in many ways when it is transferred from the site of production to utility areas. SOFCs has no transmission we can just plug in play device at home, Thus Bloom Box became small power plant at home. Bloom Box can rectify many defects such as distribution losses of 2733%, pollution and associated hazards can be wiping out by greener and eco-friendly technique. Where the power plant efficiency is very low 3033%.Next 5 -10years in market we can purchase one power plant to home~3000$, Thus the era of distributed generation beckons.

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CONCLUSION
Bloom Box was really a dramatic evolution in the field of power generation. The only concern is the cost which is not affordable for the customers. Modifications and experiments are in progress to make Bloom Box a commercially viable product. Most of the customers are cautious about the performance of the product. There is high secrecy in the production of Bloom Energy which is to be relived in the near future. The Energy Server ES-5000 is working for last 3 years; the reliability of the product can be verified in 5-10years. If the product blooms in this period, we should have a bright future.

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BIBLIOGRAPHY
1. The Fuel cell hand book US dept of energy 7th edition available in on line by the US government www.bloomenergy.com,www.osti.gov,www.wpi.edu/pubs ,www.wikipedia.org
2.

3. S.C Singhal and K.Kendall,high temperature Solid Oxide Fuel Cells: Fundamentals ,Design and application,Elsevier,Oxford,U K,2003

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