The US Navy is set to test a Boeing-built reversible fuel cell energy storage system to assess its ability to cater to the energy requirements of the military and commercial customers.
Developed over a period of 16 months, the system is described as the first of its kind to use reversible solid oxide fuel cell technology, which procures energy from renewable resources (including wind and solar) to generate clean and emission free electricity.
The ‘reversible’ technology allows the system to generate, compress and store hydrogen, allowing it to work as a fuel cell by consuming the stored hydrogen to produce electricity.
It acts as both a storage house as well as the generator of power in a single system.
Boeing Advanced Technology Programs director Lance Towers said: "This fuel cell solution is an exciting new technology providing our customers with a flexible, affordable and environmentally progressive option for energy storage and power generation."
The first unit was deployed into the Southern California Edison power grid at Boeing’s Huntington Beach, California facility, and later was installed to undergo testing on the navy’s ‘microgrid’ at the Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Engineering and Expeditionary Warfare Center in Port Hueneme, California, US.
Last month, Boeing was awarded a $2.46bn contract to manufacture and deliver P-8A Poseidon maritime surveillance aircraft for the US Navy, and the Government of Australia.
Image: Boeing’s reversible cell system in operation. Photo: courtesy of Boeing.