PRESS RELEASE Power Generation

Rolls-Royce successfully tests mtu fuel cell system for blackout case and peak power

Posted on April 17, 2023

Images [2 Files, 2 MB]

  • Successful completion of first 250-kilowatt fuel cell demonstrator

  • CO2-free energy system being designed for data centers and other industrial applications

  • Rolls-Royce shows mtu fuel cell system at Hannover Messe

Rolls-Royce’s (LSE: RR., ADR: RYCEY) tests of its first mtu fuel cell demonstrator have proven that the system can provide uninterruptible power in the event of a blackout. Dr. Philippe Gorse, responsible for the development of the mtu fuel cell system at the business unit Power Systems of Rolls-Royce, said:  “The 250-kilowatt system we built at our headquarters in Friedrichshafen and tested for about a year absolutely met our expectations. During the blackout simulation, the system immediately and consistently provided the requested power.”

The interaction of fuel cell modules, batteries and power grid was the focus of the tests to demonstrate the ability of an uninterruptible power supply for data centers. It is black-start capable, meaning it can be started without being connected to a power grid. Tests for peak load power delivery, i.e., when a highly fluctuating demand is met by the fuel cell system over a period of time in parallel with the power grid, were also successfully validated.

Why fuel cells?
Fuel cells have a very high efficiency when generating electricity using hydrogen and oxygen. They emit no harmful emissions when operating on pure hydrogen, only water vapor, are quiet and require little maintenance, and cause no vibration. Dr. Peter Riegger, head of the Rolls-Royce PowerLab explained: “The biggest plus point comes when regeneratively produced hydrogen is used as fuel. Then the emission of pollutants and climate-damaging gases together can be reduced to zero. In this way, fuel cells have enormous potential to become a key technology building block for the decarbonization of propulsion and energy systems.”

mtu fuel cell system for first time in use for port of Duisport
As part of the publicly funded Enerport II project, Duisport, one of the world’s largest inland ports, will commission a new terminal with a hydrogen-based supply network during 2024. In the future, most of the electrical and thermal energy required in the port will be generated directly on site from hydrogen in a CO2-neutral manner. This will be ensured by two mtu fuel cell systems and two combined heat and power plants with mtu Series 4000 hydrogen engines. This project is supported by the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Climate Protection.

As part of its sustainability program, Rolls-Royce is focusing the product portfolio of its Power Systems business unit on sustainable fuels and new technologies that can further reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

About Rolls-Royce Holdings plc

  1. Rolls-Royce develops and delivers complex power and propulsion solutions for safety-critical applications in the air, at sea and on land. Our products and service packages enable our customers to connect people, societies, cultures and economies together; they meet the growing need for power generation across multiple industries; and enable governments to equip their armed forces with the power to protect.
  2. Rolls-Royce has a presence in 48 countries and customers in more than 150, comprising over 250 commercial large aero engine customers, 160 armed forces and navies and approximately 40,000 active Power Systems customers. We are committed to becoming a net zero company by 2050 and we support our customers to do the same.
  3. Annual underlying revenue was £15.4bn in 2023, underlying operating profit was £1.6bn and free cash flow £1.3bn.  
  4. Rolls-Royce Holdings plc is publicly traded company (LSE: RR., ADR: RYCEY, LEI: 213800EC7997ZBLZJH69).
  5. Rolls-Royce Power Systems is headquartered in Friedrichshafen in southern Germany and employs more than 10,500 people. The product portfolio includes mtu-brand high-speed engines and propulsion systems for ships, heavy land, rail and defence vehicles and for the oil and gas industry. The portfolio also includes diesel and gas systems and battery containers for mission critical, standby and continuous power, combined generation of heat and power, and microgrids. With its climate friendly technologies, Rolls-Royce Power Systems is helping to drive the energy transition.


Silke Rockenstein Spokeswoman Trade Media
+49 7541 90 7740