Boeing Delivers a New Reversible Fuel Cell

Reversible fuel cell goes both ways for the US Navy

Gizmag, February 9, 2016

Boeing has delivered a new type of fuel cell to the US Navy for testing that can both store energy and generate electricity. Called a “reversible solid oxide fuel cell,” it’s designed to absorb energy from renewable sources, such as wind and solar, then release it as required to provide commercial and military users with a cleaner, more sustainable source of power.

Boeing’s reversible solid oxide fuel cell system in operation in Huntington Beach, California (Credit: Boeing)

Sixteen months in development, the Boeing fuel cell system relies on a catalytic electrolysis process that uses electricity to break up water or other materials to generate hydrogen gas, which it then compresses and stores for later use. When electricity is needed, the fuel cell can reverse itself and burn the hydrogen to produce electricity with only water for waste. Boeing claims that this is the first time that both sides of the cycle have been combined into a single system.

The Boeing system was first tested on the Southern California Edison power grid at Boeing’s Huntington Beach, California, facility. It will now be connected to the Navy microgrid at the Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Engineering, and Expeditionary Warfare Center in Port Hueneme, California to see it can support military requirements.

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