K. R. Sridhar, the inventor of this technology, is confident that the Bloom Box will be able to provide power for businesses across the globe and residential homes, once the fuel cells can be manufactured in a cost effective manner. Sridhar, a former rocket scientist for NASA, got the idea for this technology from a project in which he was tasked with figuring out a way to produce oxygen on Mars. When NASA decided to scrap this mission, Sridhar had an idea to reverse his "Mars Machine" so that instead of oxygen being produced oxygen would be pumped in. Sridhar was able to invent a new kind of fuel cell in which oxygen is fed into one end and fuel is fed into the other. The fuel and oxygen combine within the fuel cell to produce electricity without the need for combustion or power lines from an outside source. The fuel most commonly used now is natural gas which does create carbon emissions. However, biogas, landfill gas, and solar energy can also be used as fuel for the Bloom Box, and the use of these fuels would result in a net of zero carbon emissions
The Bloom Box has already been installed by well-known entities such as Google, FedEx, Walmart, Staples, and Ebay. The large boxes these corporations had installed cost between $700,000-$800,000. Ebay had five Bloom Boxes installed at its San Jose campus, and the company claims it has saved over $100,000 in electricity costs over a nine month period.
Sridhar is continuing to refine his production and manufacturing processes with the hope of scaling-down the corporate Bloom Box to a unit that would be affordable for the average home owner. His goal is to create a unit that cost about $3,000 and to have a Bloom Box installed in every home by the year 2020.
For more information regarding the science behind the Bloom Box: http://www.fastcompany.com/1561844/how-does-bloom-box-energy-server-work