Rolls-Royce talks to members of Fridays-for-Future movement

Posted on 16 October 2019 by Melanie Staudacher, Images by Melanie Staudacher

How to make power generation clean? What is the role of industry in climate protection?  Those were the questions under discussion when Dr Martin Teigeler, head of R&D at Rolls-Royce Power Systems, met with members of the Fridays for Future (FFF) movement at the Bodensee Business Forum 2019 in Friedrichshafen.

“We'd like industry to keep us better informed. Which projects are being worked on by business to improve the future we all share?” asked Emely Lies from FFF. Teigeler responded to the criticism by saying, “Well, it's a tricky business, putting details of our research work out into the public domain because that's information that our competitors would also love to have.” He did, however, go on to provide a general overview of current development projects. 

“We're resolutely pursuing our PS 2030 course,” explained Christoph Ringwald, head of corporate communications at Rolls-Royce Power Systems. “At present, diesel engines are to remain an important part of our product portfolio. At the same time, we're launching new technologies, based for example on hybridization, electrification and Power-to-X.”

“Our microgrid solutions are a prime example of a power generation solution that emits less CO2,” explained Teigeler. Microgrids are small-scale local power networks in which various energy sources and storage systems such as solar cells, wind turbines, batteries, and diesel or gas-powered generator sets are integrated by means of a smart master controller.

“I'm fairly taken by the idea of the microgrid,” said Lachlan Eckardt from FFF. “We're currently experiencing how difficult it is to install power lines through Germany to transport energy from North Sea wind farms to the southern regions.  Generating power right on location sounds like a great proposition,” he granted.

All participants in the discussion agreed that policy-makers must do more to promote new green technologies. “The role of our political leaders has to be to create incentives that will encourage the acceptance of new technologies,” said Teigeler, an opinion shared by the FFF activists. Eckardt said: “So far, the response of our policy-makers to the challenges of the energy turnaround has been too slow, too timid and too inconsistent and won't produce the desired effect of getting the world of business and civil society on board.”

The Bodensee Business Forum (BBF) brings actors from politics, business and civil society together to debate the challenges of the day in group sessions and panel discussions. It took place at the beginning of October in the Count Zeppelin Building in Friedrichshafen.

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