PRESS RELEASE Power Generation

Rolls-Royce showcases on-site, low-emission mtu microgrid solutions for agriculture

Posted on November 26, 2019

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  • Battery containers and smart control open up new perspectives for farmers in power generation
  • Cost advantages through own consumption or feeding into public grid
  • Increasingly decarbonized power generation with interconnected components


Rolls-Royce offers with its mtu microgrids the company's first eco-friendly and on-site power generation solution suitable for agricultural applications. These autonomous power grids combine renewable energy sources with battery storage and gas and diesel generators using a microgrid control system developed by Rolls-Royce, thereby reducing C02 emissions in power generation. Farmers also lose their dependency on the public grid and can integrate existing energy sources such as photovoltaics or biogas plants, which offers financial benefits. Rolls-Royce will be presenting its microgrid solutions for farming applications at the agricultural trade show Agritechnica from 10 to 16 November.

“Many farmers already have large-scale photovoltaic or biogas plants and are therefore ideally equipped to use a microgrid. Our mtu EnergyPack, the battery container, and a smart energy management system allow the various energy sources to be optimally deployed – both technically and in terms of cost,” explains Cordelia Thielitz, Vice President Microgrids at Rolls-Royce.

The components of a Microgrid can be adapted according to the requirements. The possible applications in agriculture are manifold and offer advantages in terms of return-on-investment (ROI), decentralisation and decarbonisation. Here are three examples:  

Prime power from biomass

Instead of continually pumping all the electrical power won from a biogas plant into the public grid, it can be stored in the mtu-EnergyPack. The smart energy management system then ensures that this energy is only fed into the public grid at times of peak demand, when prices are at their highest.

Self-sufficient greenhouses

To flourish and grow, crops cultivated in greenhouses need temperature levels and light exposure to be kept as constant as possible. The heat and power required to achieve that constitute major cost factors for any farmer.

But with combined power generation using a photovoltaic installation and mtu generator linked up to a battery and master controller, the greenhouse can operate independently round-the-clock without recourse to the public grid. Electrical energy generated by photovoltaics and a gas-powered CHP module during the day can be fed into the batteries, where it is subsequently available for lighting the crops and other electrical consumers.   Heat from the CHP module is used to heat the greenhouses while CO2 recovered from its exhaust emissions promotes plant growth.

Profitability in times of change

For farmers in Germany who generate power for the public grid using photovoltaics and biogas plants and are subsidized under the German Renewable Energies Act (EEG), the microgrid can be a very worthwhile investment. This is because subsidy rates are falling, with many subsidy schemes soon to reach the end of their twenty-year term. Furthermore, operators of larger-scale PV plants also have to pay an EEG levy on the power they consume themselves.

Integrating these systems with batteries and a smart controller creates new cost benefits for farmers, who reduce their CO2 output at the same time.

“Integrating existing renewable energy sources as a microgrid creates an independent, reliable supply of energy which is gentle on the environment and saves money. For a not inconsiderable number of farmers, microgrids can open up new earning potential,” said Armin Fürderer, head of customer solutions in the power generation section at Rolls-Royce.

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About Rolls-Royce Holdings plc

  1. Rolls-Royce pioneers cutting-edge technologies that deliver clean, safe and competitive solutions to meet our planet’s vital power needs.
  2. Rolls-Royce Power Systems is headquartered in Friedrichshafen in southern Germany and employs around 11,000 people. The product portfolio includes mtu-brand high-speed engines and propulsion systems for ships, power generation, heavy land, rail and defence vehicles and for the oil and gas industry. Under the mtu Onsite Energy brand, the company markets diesel and gas systems and battery containers for mission critical, standby and continuous power, combined generation of heat and power, and microgrids. Medium-speed engines from Bergen power ships and power generation applications.
  3. Rolls-Royce has customers in more than 150 countries, comprising more than 400 airlines and leasing customers, 160 armed forces, 70 navies, and more than 5,000 power and nuclear customers.
  4. Annual underlying revenue was £15 billion in 2018, around half of which came from the provision of aftermarket services.
  5. In 2018, Rolls-Royce invested £1.4 billion on research and development. We also support a global network of 29 University Technology Centres, which position Rolls-Royce engineers at the forefront of scientific research.
  6. The Group has a strong commitment to apprentice and graduate recruitment and to further developing employee skills.       
Wolfgang Boller Spokesman Regional and Business Media
+49 7541 90 2159