K.R. Sridhar has an energy plan anyone could get behind - electricity in a box.
That's the promise of the "Bloom box," the fuel-cell-powered invention coming from the Silicon Valley start up, Bloom Energy.
"In five to ten years, we would like to be in every home," Sridhar told Leslie Stahl on "60 Minutes" Sunday night.
The "box" generates its power wirelessly through a combination of oxygen and a fossil fuel - natural gas, bio-gas, etc. It is presently being tested by companies such as Google, WalMart, FedEx and eBay, who have shelled out hundreds of thousands for the "green" machines, the CBS News program reported.
Smaller versions could be used to power individual homes, and would be environmentally friendly.
Sridhar initially developed the idea while working with NASA, as a means of producing oxygen for astronauts landing on Mars. However, when that mission was scrapped, he altered the device to produce energy instead.
"It sounds awfully dazzling," Stahl told the Indian-born scientist.
"It is real," he said. "It works."
Not everyone is buying into Bloom Energy's boasts for its product, which it plans to unveil to the world in less than two days, according to its presently-sparse www.bloomenergy.com Web site.
"I'm hopeful, but I'm skeptical," Michael Kanellos, editor-in-chief of GreenTech Media, told "60 Minutes." "People have tried fuel cells since the 1830s."
Bloom's efforts have been touted by the likes of former Secretary of State Colin Powell and former Vice President Al Gore. It also received hundreds of millions of dollars in funding from John Doerr's capital firm, Kleiner Perkins. The firm developed Netscape, Amazon and Google, but also backed the less-impressive Segway personal two-wheeled transportation vehicle.
"That's my job," Doerr said on "60 Minutes." "To find entrepreneurs who are going to change the world and then help them." (NY Daily News, 2.22.2010, Michael Sheridan, firstname.lastname@example.org) http://www.nydailynews.com/tech_guide/2010/02/22/2010-02-22_bloom_energy_inventor_kr_sridhar_makes_big_promise_with_bloom_box.html