Two of these blocks can power an American home, while one will suffice for a European home. A stack of 64 can power a small business. What is this magical box and where can you get one?
It's the Bloom Box, essentially a power plant in a box, and it claims to be the latest breakthrough in clean energy technology. You can't get one yet, but K.R. Sridhar, founder of Bloom Energy, says there will be one in every American home in five to 10 years.
Sridhar has been developing the technology for the past 10 years, and its all been kept relatively under wraps. The company made their first public appearance on 60 Minutes on Sunday, in an exclusive interview with Lesley Stahl preceding the company's official launch this Wednesday.
Sridhar invented a new kind of fuel cell that is entirely self-sufficient. He feeds oxygen into one side of a cell while fuel is supplied to the other side. The two combine, forming a chemical reaction that produce electricity.
Is it too good to be true? Some, like Michael Kanellos, editor-in-chief of the Web site GreenTech Media, think the cost will be too high to maintain its production on a large scale.
Several big name companies have already signed on, though. Google was the first to sign up for a Bloom Box, and other big names such as Walmart and FedEx have also come on board, touting its efficiency.
"Going from a few to mass-manufacturing's going to be tough. And then making them so people won't run away at the price tag," Kanellos told Stahl. "It needs to be cheaper than solar. It needs to be cheaper than wind."
But Sridhar claims that he can drive the cost down to under $3,000.