Silicon Valley company to go off the grid


T.J. Rodgers of Cypress Semiconductor used the Fourth of July holiday for a ceremonial signing of a "Declaration of Energy Independence." Rodgers dedicated three new Bloom Energy fuel cells as part of its effort to generate 100 percent of the power it needs to operate.

Rodgers says "We have 520 people here and we're in three buildings and these three boxes produce two-thirds of our energy."

Bloom Energy out of Sunnyvale unveiled its fuel cell technology in February with companies such Google and eBay already using the so called Bloom Boxes. The boxes are designed to replace the power grid as we know it using natural gas and other biofuels to create energy.

The founder of Bloom Energy, K.R. Sridhar was on hand for the Cypress event. Although Sridhar would not be specific about the company's growth, he told us "Demand [for our product] is very robust and we have a healthy backlog."

Cypress depends on a combination of Bloom Boxes and solar cells to generate its own power. Cypress was one of the early adopters of solar panels, investing $1.5 million in 2000. By 2008, Rodgers says the system had paid for itself and now generates $70,000 in free energy a year. He expects the three Bloom Boxes to pay for themselves in five years.

A founder of San Jose's SunPower, Dick Swanson says the two technologies show how a collaboration of clean technologies can power the world.

Swanson says "If you look at the 20th century, that's where we ramped up our dependence on oil. The 21st century will be known as the unwinding of that dependence."

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