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Bloom Energy Heeds Governor's Call, Will Repurpose Old Ventilators

By Scott Levine - Mar 23, 2020 at 11:14AM

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This fuel cell manufacturer plans on doing its part to help meet the medical needs of the Golden State.

Accepting the challenge from California Governor Gavin Newsom, Bloom Energy (BE 1.23%) plans on refurbishing old ventilators that the state has in storage. The lack of ventilators has been a major source of concern for medical professionals throughout the COVID-19 outbreak because many patients who test positive for the novel coronavirus eventually need ventilators to help them breathe.

During a news conference on Sunday, Newsom said he told KR Sridhar, Bloom Energy's founder and CEO, that the manufacturer of the old ventilators estimated that it would take a month to repurpose about 200 of them. Newsom then dropped the gauntlet, telling Kridhar, "We want you to do more and do better." Wasting no time, Bloom Energy got to work. Yesterday, Sridhar sent a picture to Newsom showing 24 ventilators that the company had repurposed in merely a few hours. Upon the state's approval that the refurbished ventilators were acceptable, Sridhar said that he will accept additional ventilators from the state which need repurposing.

A worker holds a vial of blood indicating a positive COVID-19 test.

Image source: Getty Images.

California is one of the states which has been most greatly affected by the outbreak of COVID-19. On March 19, Governor Newsom issued a statewide stay-at-home order. According to its most recent numbers, California has reported 1,468 positive cases of the novel coronavirus and 27 deaths.

Like Bloom Energy, other companies have expressed interest in supporting the medical community as it battles against the COVID-19 pandemic. Last week, Tesla's CEO, Elon Musk, tweeted, "We will make ventilators if there is a shortage."

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