BENGALURU, India (August 29, 2019) — Bloom Energy, real estate developer Atelier Global, India’s leading natural gas companies GAIL (India) Limited and Indian Oil Corporation, and representatives of the US-India Strategic Partnership Forum, today announced a first-of-its-kind commercial real estate development in Bangalore that will be powered by clean reliable electricity generated on-site using natural gas.
Atelier has conceptualized Whitefield Tower, a business-hospitality development with 6.9 lakh square feet of premium offices where “business checks in”, 2 levels of “shoppable entertainment”, 60 room boutique hotel, high-end co-working spaces, shared services for business and social offerings that “fill-in-the-city-gaps” including media, art and exhibition spaces.
Upon its completion, the iconic Whitefield Tower will be a first of its kind development with 87,000 sq. ft. floor plates, large spans measuring 15 meters, fresh air architecture, central core design, 4.5 meter heights and 100% daylight harvesting. The building has double skinned façades with shading louvers to avoid glare and heat.
Atelier plans for one megawatt of power for the development to be provided by Bloom Energy Servers running on natural gas provided by GAIL.
Developed in Silicon Valley, the Bloom Energy Server is the world’s most efficient commercially available electricity generation device. It produces power without combustion through an electrochemical process which generates virtually no smog-forming emissions. Bloom Energy Servers can operate using natural gas, biogas from landfills, food or animal waste, or hydrogen as fuel.
The Bloom Energy Server development at Whitefield Tower is the first natural gas-powered solid oxide fuel cell project in India since the launch of the U.S.-India Gas Task Force. The task force was established by Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas Dhamendra Pradhan and U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Rick Perry in April 2018 to support the Indian government’s goal to increase the share of natural gas in India’s energy mix from 6.5% to 15% by 2030.
The World Bank has reported that India loses approximately 4% of its GDP due to distortions in the power sector that impact both human health and business productivity. At a press event to announce the project, Bloom Energy Chief Technology Officer Venkat Venkataraman, former GAIL Chairman and Managing Director Shri Bhuwan Chandra Tripathi, Mr. J.P. Misra, General Manager, Gas Business of Indian Oil (IOCL), and Ms. Garima Singh, Senior Manager, Energy and Environment of USISPF proposed ways to encourage more fuel cell projects to improve power reliability and enhance air quality throughout India.
The industry leaders at the Bengaluru event proposed a number of measures to accelerate India’s transition to natural gas. These included tax exemptions on natural gas used for electricity generation; increased allocations of domestic gas for clean electricity projects; exemptions for import duty on fuel cell technology; capital subsidies for early adoption of clean fuel cell technology, and a tariff mechanism to enable excess power from fuel cells to be used to stabilize local grid power.
“We are excited to offer a clean energy alternative to India that aligns with the country’s ambitious goals to increase electricity generated from natural gas,” said Venkat Venkataraman, Chief Technology Officer of Bloom Energy. “With the right regulatory environment, India can proliferate this type of technology and deliver a plentiful supply of clean, reliable electricity to keep its economy booming.”
“It was important to us to bring the first natural gas-powered commercial real estate development to Bengaluru,” said Tony Kunnel, Principal at Atelier Global. “We’re proud to be combining cutting edge design with a sustainable approach to power that advances both our city’s aesthetic and its air quality.”
“The Whitefield Tower development is a fine example of the potential of natural gas power to transform electricity generation in India,” said Shri Bhuwan Chandra Tripathi, former Chairman and Managing Director of GAIL. “India will for the foreseeable future rely on imported LNG, which makes it critical that we have access to the most efficient, state-of-the-art technology like Bloom Energy Servers to maximize the return on our LNG investments.”
“GAIL Gas has developed a robust infrastructure to deliver reliable power to customers that will support the growth of Bloom Energy in Bangalore and neighboring areas,” said A.K. Jana, CEO of GAIL Gas. “We will further strive to advance government policies that support the adoption of this clean, reliable form of electricity generation.”
“IndianOil sincerely appreciates the efforts of Bloom Energy to develop such innovative and state-of-the-art technology,” said Mr. J.P. Misra, General Manager (Gas Business) of IndianOil (IOCL). “I believe this technology has the potential to transform the power industry and to reduce the carbon footprint of India considering the very low prices of LNG. I would like to emphasize here that IndianOil extends its complete support to Bloom Energy for reliable supply of LNG at any location irrespective of availability of a natural gas pipeline to the end user. For the last 13 years IndianOil has provided uninterrupted and very reliable natural gas supply to many remote customers.”
“Creating a regulatory environment in which natural gas projects can thrive is a win-win for India and for the United States,” said Mr. Nolty Theriot, Senior Vice President, USISPF. “India has an opportunity to accelerate the shift to reliable power, and further developing gas markets in India will both enhance the viability of existing long-term contracts for U.S. gas in India and create significant business opportunities for U.S. energy companies.”
In contrast to electricity delivered via the electrical grid, Bloom Energy Servers generate power on-site, and can operate independently of the grid. Bloom Energy Servers run 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, with 60% lower greenhouse gas emissions than the Indian grid. Because they are fueled by underground natural gas pipelines, they are dramatically less susceptible to outages than electricity sources that rely on overheard wires. As a result, customers who use Bloom Energy Servers around the world are able to reduce or eliminate their reliance on dirty back-up power.
Bloom Energy Servers are widely deployed by Fortune 100 companies with more than 600 customer deployments in the US, Japan, Korea and India. Bloom Energy has previously announced the US technology company Intel has deployed Bloom Energy Servers to meet the power needs of its growing Bengaluru campus.
A 3.5 megawatt deployment integrated with Intel’s smart and green building design providing reduced carbon dioxide emissions, delivered higher power quality, and a reliable solution for the campus electric supply. Carbon dioxide emissions levels were reduced by nearly 65%, as compared to the displaced grid generation supply and previously required back-up diesel generation, supporting Intel’s aggressive sustainability program.
Bloom Energy was founded and is led by Chairman and CEO KR Sridhar, an entrepreneur originally from India. Bloom Energy employs 300 people in India.