I've been thinking a lot about energy storage and off-grid power alternatives since the superstorm last week here in New Jersey. It has heightened my awareness about what's possible with things like fuel cell technologies.
So, I read with interest that the HP Pavilion sports arena in San Jose, Calif., has installed two 200-kilowatt servers from Bloom Energy. It is the first sports arena in the United States to make an investment in the technology, which uses a solid oxide approach.
The servers will handle up to 90 percent of the electricity that the facility needs on a non-event day and up to 25 percent of the power needed to run all the acitivities associated with a home hockey game.
Remember, this is a hockey arena, so a significant amount of power needs to go toward keeping the ice pristine. The building hosts an average of 150 events annually. It has a capacity of slightly less than 17,500 people.
The building manager, Shark Sports & Entertainment, also uses Bloom servers at a public recreational ice facility in the city of San Jose.
Right now, fuel cells are mainly being used as a supplemental energy source. But I'll bet that attitudes about fuel cell investments will change post-Sandy - especially as businesses and residential customers seek a much higher degree of energy independence.