PRESS RELEASE Power Generation

Rolls-Royce builds new fuel cell demonstrator to ensure electricity supplies

Posted on June 10, 2021

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  • Alternative fuels and fuel  cells for carbon-neutral mtu solutions          
  • 250  kW demonstrator from  Rolls-Royce testing standby, prime and UPS power supply functionality


Another new  technology – the hydrogen fuel cell – is currently making in-roads at the  Friedrichshafen plant of Rolls-Royce's Power Systems division where a 250  kW  demonstrator is in the process of being set up to test future zero-carbon  energy systems and present these to customers. “We firmly believe that fuel  cell technology is set to make a huge contribution to a successful energy  turnaround. That's why Rolls-Royce sees it as its mission to assume a
pioneering role in fuel cell applications,” said Andreas Schell, CEO ofv  Rolls-Royce Power Systems. “Fuel cells shall form an elementary part of our  product portfolio for sustainable solutions.”

Why fuel cells?  Fuel cells have very high efficiency levels when generating electricity from hydrogen and oxygen. When run on pure hydrogen, they give off zero emissions –  only water vapor – as well as being low-noise, low-maintenance, and  vibration-free. “The  greatest benefit is when they are run on regeneratively produced hydrogen  because this enables polluting and climate-damaging gas emissions to be fully  eliminated. This gives fuel cells a huge potential to become a major technology  for decarbonizing propulsion and electrical power supply systems,” added Dr.  Peter Riegger, Vice President Rolls-Royce PowerLab .  

Much has already  happened at Rolls-Royce Power Systems' Friedrichshafen Plant 1 in recent months, with the complex hydrogen infrastructure – which requires a lot of  investment – now installed and the container all set up complete with its four  low-temperature PEM fuel cell modules. Indeed, this took quite a lot of work by  engineers across a variety of sites. Designed at the company's plants in  Ruhstorf (Bavaria) and Friedrichshafen, safety reasons dictate the container has two separate compartments for fuel cells and batteries, plus a host of  power electronics. The control system has now been fully refined, cooling and  air conditioning are on the roof, and a rack system enables simple maintenance,  allowing individual system modules to be replaced as required.

The energy systems  using fuel cell modules from the automotive sector have been put through their paces on the test stand, and Rolls-Royce engineers are more than happy with the  results: “Power flexing characteristics and performance are excellent, and as  expected there are no vibrations or no loud noises”, explained Dr. Peter  Riegger. The next step is to connect all four demo modules together in the  container and hook up the batteries and power circuit. Commissioning is slated for the second half of 2021.

The demonstrator  will be used for test purposes, and to show interested parties which  applications the system is suitable for. These include standby power, prime  power, uninterruptible power supplies (UPS) and black start capability,  allowing the system to be started from scratch without a mains connection. The  system consists of fuel cell modules, batteries, fire protection, air  conditioning and safety systems, cooling, gas supply and automation.

Please see our white paper for  detailed information on fuel cell technology.


About Rolls-Royce Holdings plc

  1. Rolls-Royce  pioneers the power that matters to connect, power and protect society. We have
    pledged to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions in our operations by 2030  [excluding product testing] and joined the UN Race to Zero campaign in 2020,  affirming our ambition to play a fundamental role in enabling the sectors in  which we operate achieve net zero carbon by 2050.
  2. Rolls-Royce  Power Systems is headquartered in Friedrichshafen in southern Germany and
    employs around 9,000 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 as well as  diesel and gas systems and battery containers for mission critical, standby and  continuous power, combined generation of heat and power, and microgrids.
  3. Rolls-Royce  has customers in more than 150 countries, comprising more than 400 airlines and
    leasing customers, 160 armed forces and navies, and more than 5,000 power and  nuclear customers.
  4. Annual  underlying revenue was £11.76 billion in 2020 and we invested £1.25 billion on
    research and development. We also support a global network of 28 University  Technology Centres, which position Rolls-Royce engineers at the forefront of  scientific research.


Wolfgang Boller Spokesman Regional and Business Media
+49 7541 90 2159