On the one hand this is a perfect story. Nasa scientist develops hardware to convert Mars power into oxygen, project gets canceled and the invention gets turned around to benefit life on earth. It's not a new story - Bruce Stirling came up with something similar in Distraction.
As ever, the devil is in the details. Bloom claims to have invented an improvement on existing fuel cell technology that uses cheaper components than prior systems. If correct, this could be very good news.
One of the biggest problems with power generation is transmission. Superconductors, materials that can transmit power with no loss via resistance, aren't practical at normal temperatures and so we lose a lot of the electricity we generate just sending it to where it's needed.
Bloom offers to sort all that out by putting the power generation plant next to the consumer. It's a smart idea, something Thomas Edison first envisioned for power stations.
Details on the system are sketchy, we've asked for customer references and details of the system but had no reply. However, one serious problem springs to mind.
The fuel cell relies on either a hydrocarbon source, or renewable energy. Quite how the differential between these two power sources comes about hasn't been explained and therein lies the rub.
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