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AT&T signs up for 11 fuel cell Bloom boxes

Bloom Energy will install its fuel cell-powered energy servers at 11 AT&T locations in California, which the telecom company says will cut the facilities' carbon emissions in half.

The Bloom box
Bloom Energy

Bloom Energy and telecom giant AT&T said today that the clean-tech start-up would install its fuel cell-powered Energy Servers--known colloquially as "Bloom boxes"--at 11 facilities in California.

The AT&T facilities include sites in Corona, Fontana, Hayward, Pasadena, Redwood City, Rialto, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Jose, and San Ramon.

The units are expected to provide 7.5 megawatts of energy for AT&T, reducing its carbon emissions footprint for the facilities involved by half, or about 250 million pounds of CO2 per year.

For AT&T, it's a chance to use a buzzworthy clean-tech company in its overall corporate sustainability initiative to use more renewable energy as part of its portfolio. (The company also has 19 solar deployments slated for 2011.)

For Bloom, it's the latest in a series of high-profile partners, including software maker Adobe.

The key to Bloom's success lies in its business model, in which it pays for installation and hardware upfront in exchange for profits from a fixed rate on power produced.

(If you're interested, our sister site SmartPlanet did a deeper dive last year into the tech that's inside the Bloom box; our corporate siblings at 60 Minutes also profiled the company in February 2010.)

For the AT&T deal, the Bloom boxes are expected to produce more than 62 million kilowatt-hours of electricity each year, enough to power some 5,600 homes.

Installation of the boxes is scheduled to begin later this year; the plan is to have them fully operational by mid-2012.

Previous stories
• Parsing fact from fiction with the Bloom Energy box
• The nitty-gritty details of the Bloom Energy box
• FAQ: Bloom's power plant in a box?
• Bloom box challenges: Reliability, cost

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