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Clean 24/7 Power For 24/7 Healthcare

Bloom Energy Kaiser Permanente

Kaiser Permanente is one of several healthcare facilities across the United States that have installed Bloom Energy fuel cells

Healthcare facilities cannot save lives without electricity, even for one minute. Patient care devices, air purification systems, operating rooms and intensive care units need the power on. In the past, their options for energy resiliency have been costly, cumbersome and, often, detrimental to the respiratory health they are charged with safeguarding.

Now, a growing number of healthcare systems are considering fuel cells to provide back-up power and always-on microgrids.

Hospital systems have turned to Bloom Energy for their electricity needs -- from Kaiser Permanente and Sutter Health on the west coast of the United States to NYC Health + Hospitals, Mass General Brigham, and Stamford Health on the east coast.

Bloom’s solid oxide fuel cells can generate electricity at a predictable cost from a variety of fuels, including natural gas, biogas, and hydrogen, without combustion, which sharply reduces air pollutants such as nitrogen oxides (NOx) and sulphur oxides (SOx). With healthcare now responsible for 8.5% of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, the positive impact on local air quality through the implementation of Bloom’s technology is integral to the mission and values of all of these healthcare organization: Ensuring the health and safety of their communities, as well as being good stewards of the environment.

Our systems meet national code and many state codes. They can convert natural gas to electricity without combustion now, while their fuel flexibility means they can adapt to other lower carbon options in the future, providing a natural edge against obsolescence.

We monitor their performance remotely 24/7, eliminating maintenance by hospital personnel. Our Energy Server™ can be delivered on a ready-to-install platform that keeps site disruption to a minimum, and, if the hospital’s footprint needs to expand, our Packaged Energy Server can be moved elsewhere on campus. A handful of hospitals are even pairing our fuel cells with solar, battery storage, and emergency generators, giving them a truly 21st century electricity profile.

“It’s increasingly costly to maintain aging power systems and this is money that many hospitals can ill-afford to spend.”

Historically, hospitals have been designed with oversized generator capacity that provides power for their entire campuses. Under national and state codes, it is mandatory for hospitals to have both standby diesel generators and emergency generators, and multiple days of fuel on campus to power them. In most states, hospitals must keep three days of diesel fuel onsite at all times. And still, all the precautions can be for naught if the hospital discovers, when a storm hits or the grid fails, that this stagnant equipment doesn’t start as intended or the hospital is limited by the accessibility and availability of diesel.

Hospital campuses have been growing in urban and suburban markets, and so have their associated energy bills. Hospitals are now the second-largest commercial energy user in the U.S., consuming nearly 10% of all energy used in commercial buildings and spending more than $8 billion on energy every year. It’s increasingly costly to maintain aging power systems and this is money that many hospitals can ill-afford to spend. While a few large healthcare systems have margins around 10%, most are at 5% or less. When a power outage forces the cancellation of elective surgeries—a key revenue driver—the bottom line suffers. It also does when utility rates or fuel prices rise.


Ashley Shirk is a senior account executive, Bloom Energy, with a focus on the healthcare sector

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