Bloom Energy Celebrates 10th Anniversary of Delaware Plant
Bloom Energy, a leading provider of fuel cell technology, celebrated the 10th anniversary of its site at the University of Delaware STAR Campus in Newark. The company held a ceremony on Tuesday to mark the milestone and reflect on its achievements over the past decade.
Since its establishment in Delaware, Bloom Energy has delivered over 15,000 fuel cell “energy servers” that are currently in use all around the world. These energy servers are crucial for providing power to data centers, public safety facilities, and other sites that require electricity during outages. Additionally, the Delaware plant also produces hydrogen-producing electrolyzers.
The company has invested $40.5 million in the Delaware site, which includes its Energy’s Repair and Overhaul Operations team. This team is responsible for recycling and reusing 98% of materials, making the fuel cells more efficient after overhauls and upgrades. By prioritizing sustainability and waste reduction, Bloom Energy is contributing to a more environmentally friendly approach to energy production.
In addition to its technological advancements, Bloom Energy has also been actively involved in the community. The company has collaborated with Delaware Technical Community College and the University of Delaware to build a talent pipeline and provide opportunities for blue-collar jobs that don’t require advanced degrees. This commitment to community involvement and workforce development is an important aspect of Bloom Energy’s mission.
The fuel cells developed by Bloom Energy have been adapted to work on renewable landfill gas and hydrogen, further expanding their potential applications. With its other manufacturing site located in Fremont, California, near its headquarters in San Jose, Bloom Energy continues to make significant contributions to the Silicon Valley area and the broader renewable energy sector.
The establishment of the Delaware plant was made possible by an agreement approved by the state Legislature, which recognized Bloom’s fuel cells as part of the alternative energy mix. These natural-gas-fueled servers feed electricity into the Delmarva Power grid, and Delmarva customers pay the difference between market rates and the fuel cell power costs. This cost differential typically amounts to $4 or $5 monthly, thanks to lower-than-forecast wholesale electric prices.
While the cost difference borne by ratepayers has generated some controversy, Bloom Energy supporters argue that the agreement was made during a challenging period for Delaware’s economy after the closure of auto assembly plants. Despite legal challenges, the 25-year agreement has remained intact.
There have also been discussions about the efficiency of Bloom fuel servers and the need for upgrades as efficiency declines over time. However, the company has made significant progress in improving the efficiency of its fuel cells and has seen an increase in employment at the Delaware plant. The headcount has now reached 800, surpassing initial expectations.
As Bloom Energy celebrates its 10th anniversary in Delaware, it’s clear that the company has made substantial contributions to the field of fuel cell technology and sustainable energy solutions. With ongoing investments in research and development, as well as partnerships with educational institutions, Bloom Energy remains at the forefront of innovation, creating a cleaner and more sustainable future.