How can the global energy transition succeed? How can a realistic path to Net Zero be achieved? These were the leading questions of this year's PowerGen Symposium in Friedrichshafen. More than 300 customers and partners discussed this question with us, and actually everyone agreed: We need to walk the path to Net Zero together and start the journey today.
There is no question that energy is needed. The demand will increase massively in the coming years – especially for things like data centers that power our connected world. At the same time, security of supply is declining. The Ukraine war and the resulting gas crisis clearly show that both the availability and the quality of energy can no longer be taken for granted – and not just in Europe. The word needs power that can be produced reliably and climate-neutrally.
Energy storage is the big challenge
One trend is already evident and will become even more pronounced in the future: The era of large power plants is ending; energy is increasingly being generated decentrally – and more sustainably, from renewable sources such as wind and sun. The challenge is that ideal conditions do not always exist for generating power through sustainable sources precisely when it is needed. Often the sun is not shining or the wind is not blowing.. Even then, energy must be made available. "The big challenge is to store the energy from renewable sources," said Tobias Ostermaier, President of Rolls-Royce's Stationary Power Solutions division. He presented the mtu EnergyPack for this purpose: Battery containers in the 550 to 2,200 kilowatt-hour capacity range. These store energy from renewable sources and make it available when it is needed.
Electrolysers complete the mtu hydrogen ecosystem
Battery containers are not the only solution for energy storage. Electrolysers are another way to store energy by creating hydrogen. Beginning in 2024, Rolls-Royce will also provide these. Andreas Görtz, President of Rolls-Royce's Sustainable Power Solutions business unit, proudly announced the cooperation with Höller Electrolyzer. The company is currently developing a particularly efficient electrolyzer stack that will make electrolysis much more economical than before.
The electrolyzers complete our product portfolio, and now we can offer products for the entire hydrogen ecosystem.
This is because the electrolysers offer the second option for storing renewable energies - in the form of green hydrogen. This can be stored in tanks or pipelines and converted back into electricity as needed through mtu fuel cells or even hydrogen combustion engines.
Synthetic fuels and hydrogen blending enable rapid CO2 savings with existing products
It is not only with electrolysers and fuel cells that energy can be generated in a climate-neutral way. This is also possible with existing products that are already in use. For example, the CO2 emissions of diesel engines powered by HVO are reduced by up to 90 percent depending on the feedstock. The mtu Series 1600 and Series 4000 engines for the Power Generation sector have already been approved for use with HVO and other synthetic fuels complying with the EN15940 standard. And the option of refueling the gas engines not exclusively with natural gas, but with a natural gas-hydrogen mixture, means that these engines can also be operated in a more environmentally friendly manner even today. Soon, mtu gas engines will be able to run on a hydrogen content of 25 percent. This proportion is to be continuously increased until the engines can be operated with 100 percent hydrogen.
"We can provide each of our customers with the solution they need," Tobias Ostermaier summed up. Be it diesel or gas gensets, dynamic UPS, fuel cells, battery containers, electrolysers as well as interfaces connecting all these elements in a microgrid.’