Capable of generating electricity from diesel, natural gas, ethanol, and even biomass, this new “Cube” generator from University of Maryland startup Redox promises uninterrupted, low-emissions energy from renewable fuel sources. The best part is that Redox claims their Cube can effectively generate power at a fraction of the operating costs of existing alternatives like the Bloom Energy Saver, which made waves as a scalable power system back in 2012.
How much cheaper is the Cube? Redox’ electricity comes in at a cost of just $800 per kilowatt – which is a staggering $9,200 per kilowatt discount on Bloom’s system … assuming, of course, that it works at all.
At the moment, the Cube is a concept – but it’s a concept that is backed by more than $5 million, not including the 25 years of R&D by Eric Wachsman, the scientist whose low-temperature fuel cell research underlies the Redox’s patented technology.
Despite the heavy-hitting science behind the Redox cube project, though, the devices that have appeared on spec sheets and in photographs given out by the company are mock-ups, not working generators. To answer the doubters, Redox plans to turn on its first prototype 25-kilowatt working Cube in December, according to Redox CEO Warren Citrin. “That’s what we’re doing instead of a PowerPoint presentation,” he said. “We’re going to actually show the machine, and overcome all the skeptics.”
Once built, the Redox Cube will be available as a single, small-sized cube (visible in the photos, below, for scale). Larger installations can use several Cubes, installed in stacks or formations like Legos, to meet the power demands of a given area, village, hospital, or office building. It’s hoped that inexpensive, yet highly-efficient generators like the Cube will allow people and communities to break free from the dirty coal, oil, and unicorn-powered “dirty plants” that they’re basically forced to buy energy from today.
We’ll check back in December, then, and see how things go for Redox’ generators. Until then, you can check out some of the science behind the Cube here (PDF file). Enjoy!