We’re stepping up to aid the COVID-19 battle; we need your help
Today, thousands of unused, out-of-service ventilators sit idle in hospitals and warehouses across the country. Many are past the warranty date and in need of refurbishment to be returned to service.
Under normal circumstances, these stockpiles might go unnoticed – but these aren’t ordinary times.
Ventilators deliver air to patients’ lungs and help prevent respiratory failure, a common cause of death among patients with coronavirus (COVID-19). But, there’s a critical gap between how many ventilators are needed and how many are available.
Answering the call
As COVID-19 steamrolls its way through the U.S. population and strains the healthcare system, leaders across the nation are asking for support. Federal, state, and local governments have urged American businesses and organizations to think creatively and to leverage their expertise to help combat the pandemic.
Across the country, companies have heeded this call. Ford, 3M, and GE, for example, are working together to boost manufacturing to develop respirators and ventilators. Small businesses are working to manufacture medical-grade face masks. Whiskey and gin distillers are even using their alcohol supply to develop hand sanitizer.
Bloom Energy, too, is answering the call – quite literally.
Less than two weeks ago, California Governor Gavin Newsom reached out to KR Sridhar, Bloom’s founder, chairman, and CEO, and a well-known tech entrepreneur in Silicon Valley. The State had a stockpile of ventilators sitting idle in a warehouse in critical need of refurbishment. A service provider for ventilators told the Governor it would take a month to do the refurbishment.
The Governor and KR agreed, we don’t have that kind of time with lives at stake.
So, Bloom raised its hand to help.
At the time, our team knew nothing about repairing ventilators. But as a cleantech company with more than a decade of manufacturing experience for Fortune 100 companies under our belt, we knew we had the resources, skills, and grit to get it done.
Within five hours of receiving the first shipment from the State of California, our team refurbished its first ventilator.
Twenty-four hours later, we’d refurbished 23 more. Since then, we’ve received more than 550 ventilators in need of repair. We’ve also teamed up with biomedical engineers at Stanford Health Care to help test the functionality of the refurbished machines before they’re shipped back to the State.
This past weekend, California Governor Gavin Newsom and San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo visited our Sunnyvale manufacturing facility to see the work firsthand and share an update with the public.
The morning of the Governor’s press briefing, Bloom received an additional 170 ventilators that came into Los Angeles County from the federal stockpile in need of repair. Those ventilators were refurbished over the weekend and returned to Los Angeles County today.
LA received 170 broken ventilators from the national stockpile. Rather than complaining, we put them on a truck, drove them up overnight, and had @Bloom_Energy get to work fixing them.
Monday they‘ll back in LA–fixed.
That’s the spirit of CA. pic.twitter.com/y8yzsiC3Ny
— Gavin Newsom (@GavinNewsom) March 28, 2020
The innovative spirit
KR said it best at the press conference – “What did we do? We simply answered a call.”
The moment our manufacturing team – a group of builders and innovators – saw a problem, they stepped up with solutions. One of our team members even downloaded a service manual and taught himself overnight the mechanics of ventilators and how to fix them.
“That’s the spirit of California,” said Governor Newsom at the press conference.
Manufacturing is in our DNA. Innovation is in our DNA. In a matter of days, we managed to set up an assembly line that can refurbish a thousand ventilators a day.
I’m amazed at the work @Bloom_Energy + the state accomplished together in a short amount of time. This isn’t just a story about brilliant minds, it’s a story about inspired hearts tackling this crisis through innovation. (1/3) pic.twitter.com/sDPbX5sLZi
— Sam Liccardo (@sliccardo) March 28, 2020
And this isn’t just happening in California; work is already underway at our Delaware manufacturing facility, where we’ve secured an initial supply of ventilators from the State of Delaware and are working with the Delaware Emergency Management Agency (DEMA) to identify more.
While we continue to provide power for essential businesses responding to this crisis like hospitals, grocery stores, and hardware stores, we stand ready to support this moment in any way we can.
We’re emboldened by the 350 businesses in California that have already offered their support to the State.
We’re inspired by the innovative minds coming together to brainstorm new ideas to fight this pandemic, like renowned Stanford Health Care cardiothoracic surgeon, Dr. Joseph Woo. Dr. Woo and his team are currently engaged with Bloom to envision ventilators 2.0.
Unprecedented times call for unprecedented measures, but we remain hopeful, rooted in the knowledge that together, we can be the solution.
Not next week, not tomorrow; the time is now. We as a nation, as employees, as humans, must come together and embody a can do spirit.
Support the cause
We’re working with state agencies and our customers, many of which are hospitals and medical device companies, to identify additional supplies of ventilators that need refurbishing.
We’ve joined forces with Almo Corporation, who is using its national logistics network to ship ventilators to and from our manufacturing facilities in California and Delaware for refurbishment and out to the state agencies and hospitals that need them most.
We need your help too.
If you have or know of any organizations that have out-of-service ventilators or would like to partner with Bloom on this effort, please visit www.bloomenergy.com/ventilators, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call our hotline: +1 (888) 544-2644.
Help us spread the word and close the gap – every ventilator counts.
“Ventilators provide the most effective intervention for COVID-19 patients in critical care, and the units being refurbished here will save lives,” said Governor Newsom.
Photos by Beth LaBerge/KQED
Power Constraints at Existing and Temporary Hospitals
The COVID-19 crisis is overwhelming existing hospitals, necessitating the deployment of temporary tents or secondary locations to treat patients. Powering these new locations is a ‘now’ challenge that cannot be ignored. Respiratory disease requires clean air systems, and traditional backups like diesel generators create pollution and air quality issues that are harmful to patients.