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Indian American’s power(ful) creation

Washington, February 24
An India-born rocket scientist is all set to unveil a natural gas-fuelled cell box that promises to provide abundant, cheap, clean electricity to light up most American households within next 10 years.KR Sridhar, 49, founder of the Silicon Valley clean tech start-up Bloom Energy, will showcase his invention on Wednesday at a press event in San Jose, California, on the campus of eBay, one of Bloom’s first customers.

The event will feature a star-studded lineup, including California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, former Secretary of State Colin Powell, a director of his company, eBay CEO John Donahoe, venture capital firm and early Bloom believer John Doerr of Kleiner, Perkins, Caulfield & Byers.

Sridhar has raised $400 million to produce his magic boxes after eight secretive years of toil. The invention has already created quite a buzz since it was featured on CBS’s “60 Minutes” on Sunday.

A former professor of aerospace and mechanical engineering and director of the Space Technologies Laboratory (STL) at the University of Arizona, Sridhar also served as an adviser to NASA in the areas of nanotechnology and planetary missions. Sridhar initially developed the idea behind the Bloom Box while working with NASA, as a means of producing oxygen for astronauts landing on the Mars.

Sridhar argues that a Bloom Box fuelled by natural gas installed in one’s backyard would produce half as much carbon dioxide as a fossil-fuel power plant. As he suggested on “60 Minutes”, a bread loaf-sized unit capable of producing one kilowatt of power could power a single American home. — IANS



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