If this guy gets his way, most American homes will be powered by a black box that could fit inside a handbag by 2020. Based on a project to help NASA sustain life on Mars, K.R. Sridhar, a mechanical engineer, developed the Bloom Box, which uses fuel-cell technology. Bloom Energy creates the cells by baking sand into thin sheets, then coating them with ink on either side before they're stacked in Bloom Boxes. The boxes—mini generators, really—draw in oxygen to combine with virtually any kind of fuel to create energy. The goal is to allow anyone to create their own electricity, effectively decentralizing power grids and creating energy opportunities in developing countries. While the technology was just publicly unveiled last month, Bloom Energy already boasts 20 big business clients, including Google, FedEx, Walmart, Staples and eBay. The corporate boxes cost $700,000 to $800,000 before tax credits, but Mr. Sridhar hopes that individuals will be able to buy them for $3,000 or less.
See the rest of the 2010 Creativity 50 here.