California-based Bloom Energy Corp. (NYSE:BE) has found another way to help address the ventilator shortage. The company normally makes on-site power generators using an electrochemical fuel cell technology. Bloom is now partnering with independent distributor Almo Corporation, to repair and rebuild out-of-warranty ventilators and ship them to states and hospitals across the country. According to The Los Angeles Times, the ventilators had been stored since the mid-2000s after the H5N1 bird flu outbreak.
Call to action
Bloom says that last week, California Gov. Gavin Newsom called Bloom founder and CEO KR Sridhar asking for help and delivered 24 unused ventilators for the company to attempt to fix. Bloom engineers reportedly downloaded the service manual, figured out how to repair them, and had them all successfully refurbished the next day. Bloom is getting help from biomedical engineers at Stanford Health Care to test and ensure the units function properly.
Bloom notes that there are thousands of idle ventilator units that are out of circulation, since they are past their usable service date. Based on the initial group that have been refurbished, Bloom estimates it could deliver up to 1,000 per week.
Sridhar said his company is there to help. He said in a company press releast that "manufacturing is in our DNA ... this is our call to action." Newsom praised the company for its work, noting that lives will be saved by providing more of this much needed medical equipment to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.