US Navy to test new fuel cell energy storage system

American-based technology company Boeing has delivered a fuel cell energy storage system to the U.S. Navy for testing after it spent 16 months on its development.

The Navy will now test the cell to determine its ability to support the energy needs of military and commercial customers.

According to Boeing, the system uses ‘first of a kind’ technology called a “reversible solid oxide fuel cell” to store energy from renewable resources (including wind and solar), producing clean, zero-emissions electricity.

The system generates, compresses and stores hydrogen. When the grid demands power, it operates as a fuel cell, consuming the stored hydrogen to produce electricity. What makes Boeing’s technology special is its ability to both store energy and produce electricity in a single system, making the technology “reversible.”

This first unit was commissioned on the Southern California Edison power grid at Boeing’s Huntington Beach, California, facility before being installed for further testing on the Navy’s ‘microgrid’ at the Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Engineering and Expeditionary Warfare Center in Port Hueneme, California.

Lance Towers, director, Advanced Technology Programs, 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.”