Asked to describe examples of innovation at XL Catlin, Insurance Chief Executive Greg Hendrick, includes a warranty insurance solution for Bloom Energy on his list.
Bloom Energy is a provider of solid oxide fuel cell technology generating clean, highly-efficient on-site power from multiple fuel sources.
According to an article by Pierre-Yves Loertscher, regional underwriting manager for XL’s Complex Accounts team published on XL’s website (“Greening the Power Landscape with Fuel Cells“), a fuel cell is basically like a battery that runs continuously, with a consistent electrical output. “All other power sources, especially standard fossil-fuel power plants, are subject to power fluctuations and outages,” the article notes.
With fuel cells, there is no combustion producing high carbon emissions and other pollutants, Loertscher writes. He adds, however, that fuel cells had not been efficient or affordable until a NASA scientist, Dr. K. R. Sridhar, developed an alternative to those that required expensive platinum plates and pure-hydrogen fuel to run.
Sridhar reconfigured a fuel cell that was originally supposed to be used in NASA’s Mars probe as “a regenerative (self-running) SOFC (solid oxide fuel cell), with an architecture robust enough to supply base-load (primary) power on an industrial scale, and at an affordable price.”
Loertscher’s article details more of the science behind the SOFCs that are the basis of the Bloom Energy Server—stacked fuel cells generating consistent, uninterrupted electrical output over a lifespan of more than 15 years.
Sridhar cofounded Bloom Energy in 2001 with a mission to make clean, reliable energy affordable worldwide. Bloom Energy Servers currently are producing power for several Fortune 500 companies including Google, Walmart, AT&T, eBay, Staples, The Coca-Cola Company, as well as notable nonprofit organizations such as Caltech and Kaiser Permanente.
Where does XL Catlin fit in?
The XL coverage enabled Bloom Energy to finance the installation of dozens of Bloom Energy Servers in 2013, with a policy that assures the performance of Bloom’s fuel cell server technology over the term of the financing, XL explained in a media statement. Essentially, the energy off-taker entered into a long-term agreement to purchase the electricity, and the generation of the electricity was backed by a Bloom Product Performance Warranty. That warranty, in turn, was fully insured by XL Catlin Group.