Taiwan’s Kaori Heat Treatment Co (高力熱處理工業) has secured a new supply contract with US-based energy systems developer Bloom Energy Inc, which is expected to earn Kaori NT$100 million (US$3 million) in revenue this year.
Under the contract signed on Wednesday in Taipei, Kaori will supply hotboxes — a key component of solid-oxide fuel cells (SOFC) — to Bloom Energy. More than 200 units are expected to be shipped by the end of this year.
Bloom Energy is backed by venture capital firms Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers) and New Enterprise Associates. It was identified by Business 2.0 Magazine in 2007 as one of 15 companies that “will change the world.”
Headed by K.R. Sridhar, a former aerospace engineering professor who developed a device for NASA to turn carbon dioxide into oxygen on Mars, Bloom Energy is engaged in the development of solid-oxide fuel cells that allow homes to generate their own electricity.
The fuel cells can convert almost any hydrocarbon fuel into electricity without combustion, and the greenhouse gas production is half of that from conventional energy sources.
Kaori chairman Hans Han (韓顯壽) said the contract with Bloom Energy would give his company access to the renewable energy market, which has received a boost as a result of initiatives by many governments to encourage the development and use of green energy.
Han said Bloom Energy’s products, which will be sold at large retail stores such as Wal-Mart Stores Inc, have a huge global market.
Founded in 1970, Kaori specializes in metal heat treatment processing and the manufacture of metal products.
It is the sole manufacturer of brazed heat exchangers in Taiwan, and has sales in more than 60 countries.
Using technology transferred from Bloom Energy, Kaori launched a new production line for SOFC hotboxes in the second half of this year, Han said.
The two sides signed the supply contract after the shipments passed quality verification, he said.
Green energy is one of five new industries that are being promoted by the government. Under a project approved by the Cabinet in April, the government will invest NT$25 billion over the next five years in the development of renewable energy and will subsidize the general installation of energy-saving devices.
It will also provide NT$20 billion for R&D of green energy technologies, which is expected in turn to draw NT$200 billion in private investment in the industry.
The project will target fields such as solar energy, light-emitting diode lighting, wind power, biomass fuel, hydrogen power, fuel cells, electric vehicles, energy information and communication technology.