Earlier this week, Boeing made an announcement about their latest revelation. They presented the result of 16 months of development- a new-generation “reversible solid oxide fuel cell“, which can store and generate clean power. The invention was just delivered to the U.S. Navy in order to begin with outside-of-lab, real life tests.
The technology is unique because of its double function, or the fact that it is reversible. This means that this system uses excess wind and solar power to split water molecules and produce hydrogen. The hydrogen then gets compressed and stored for later use. When needed, for example in cases of power shortage within the grid, the process is reversed. The hydrogen is burnt and electricity is generated, without a need of any additional component and without generating waste.
According to the makers, there is no other technology that combines these two functions into one system. Proven highly successful in controlled environment, the technology is now entering its second stage of testing. With this, the makers want to prove that it is not only a unique concept, but rather it is a real solution that can meet renewable energy needs.
This new reversible fuel cell technology from Boeing can revolutionize renewable energy generation. It holds the potential to provide that ever-so-needed back up for the times when wind and solar are not generating power. As Lance Towers, director of Advanced Technology Programs at Boeing says, customers of solid oxide fuel cells will have a reliable, flexible, eco-friendly, and affordable energy storage/power generation solution.
Now, it will be interesting to see what he means by “affordable”, but for now the technology seems to be ticking all the necessary boxes.
Image (c) Boeing