STORY Power Generation

"With HVO, we reduce CO2 emissions by 90 percent".

Posted on September 13, 2022 by Silke Rockenstein

Rolls-Royce and AVK provide over 3.5 gigawatts of emergency power for data centers in the UK. In an interview, AVK Managing Director Chris Pritchard explains which sustainable solutions data center operators are relying on and what role HVO fuel plays in this.
Northampten, UK

AVK is the largest supplier of critical power solutions for Data Centers and the financial sector in the UK. How did you get there?

For over 30 years we’ve been providing Generator and UPS solutions for mission critical services and systems. Since our founding in 1989, AVK has had continued steady and consistent growth, not only in size, but also our reputation. We are trusted by many of the UK's largest blue-chip companies to design, install and maintain 100% power integrity to guarantee their operations when mains power fails. AVK has a unique capability for design, manufacture, installation and on-going maintenance of standby power systems containing UPS systems and standby diesel generators. We provide expertise in the design, planning and implementation of power system projects in all major market sectors ranging from Data Centers, Banking & Finance and Telecommunications through to Industrial & Public from standard configurations to special applications.

How long have you been working with Rolls-Royce and how has that developed?

AVK has been using mtu engines for emergency power systems for over 20 years, as these products are the best on the market for our industry, as our customers confirm to us. The outstanding product features combined with individual customer support are key to why the industry is increasingly relying on solutions from AVK and Rolls-Royce. By the end of 2019, we had signed an exclusive agreement and have since been using only Rolls-Royce mtu brand emergency generators in the UK and Ireland.  

To mark the delivery of the 200th mtu genset, Tobias Ostermaier, president of Rolls-Royce's Stationary Power Solutions business unit, thanked AVK managing director Chris Pritchard and the entire team during a visit to AVK|SEG's London headquarters and expressed his appreciation.

Do you experience a need for sustainable emergency power solutions?

Yes, on the one hand, all companies have a duty to reduce Carbon Dioxide to meet the climate change targets. However, particle and nitrogen oxides emissions from internal combustion engines are of also significant importance to the local environment. The environmental agency also regulates these site emissions, leading to limitations of operation and planning consent. And on the other hand, companies have also committed themselves to reducing their environmental impact.

What are your experiences with the sustainable fuel HVO, that can be used in mtu diesel engines without any adjustments? And what do your customers say about it?

We recorded data in real-world conditions, obtained from two generator sets, the first fueled by EN590 fossil fuel diesel and the second generator fueled by engineered synthetic HVO fuel. The tests showed excellent improvements in the emitted pollutants. In our emissions study, the benefits of the CO2 reductions have not been covered but are expected that the CO2 is reduced by 90%. This is due to the fact that HVO is a renewable diesel produced from renewable raw materials.

When it comes to sustainability, our customers primarily ask for HVO at the moment. Since April 1, 2022, the pure use of the previously tax-privileged heating oil for commercial purposes has been banned in the United Kingdom. This puts even more focus on the use of sustainable HVO.

As the first stage on the road to Net Carbon Zero, HVO is a great starting point. HVO offers, in our view, the most significant savings at the lowest cost in airborne exhaust gas emissions without installing additional exhaust gas after-treatment.

What further sustainable solutions do you see in the future for data centers, Banking & Finance and Telecommunications?

We see gas and battery systems for standby power supply and microgrids as further trends. Hydrogen solutions with engines and fuel cells will come as soon as the storage, availability and cost of the fuel become economically attractive for our customers.