Diesel gensets currently offer the highest safety and most coherent technical characteristics for mission-critical energy systems.
How do you reduce emissions from your diesel generators?
We have different ways of reducing emissions from diesel gensets: we continue to work on reducing exhaust emissions through internal engine measures and we offer exhaust gas aftertreatment systems. We provide different, flexible and project-specific solutions for the very heterogeneous market, where there are different directives and legislation depending on the region.
What alternatives for backup power supply for data centers do you see on the way to climate neutrality?
We see it as important to expand renewable energies and Power-to-X technologies, make alternative fuels available, prepare combustion engines for alternative fuels, and develop alternative energy and propulsion systems. We see great potential in hydrogen as a fuel. The numerous initiatives by various countries to further expand the infrastructure are also encouraging. In addition to hydrogen, we are working on other fuels produced from renewable energies such as e-diesel, e-methanol and e-methane. Accordingly, we are expanding our portfolio to include fuel cells and are currently testing hydrogen engines for energy supply.
Strong arguments for using and promoting the fuel cell technology for data center are high reliability, scalability and the ability to reduce both pollutant and climate-damaging gas emissions to zero.
Is the use of synthetic fuels approved in accordance with EN 15940 for driving mtu generators?
For the synthetic fuels according to EN 15940, we have run extensive tests on the test bench and also in the field in recent years and released GtL and HVO now for our Series 4000 G03/04 powergen engines. The synthetic EN 15940 fuels GtL (Gas-to-Liquid) and HVO (Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil), which are produced using the Fischer-Tropsch process are very similar to diesel in terms of their properties. They also offer some advantages, such as storage stability, which is much better compared to conventional diesel (especially with increased bio content). HVO is largely made from biological feedstocks and can be produced in a CO2-neutral manner.
What about biodiesel – is it a viable fuel given the sporadic use of gensets that are only used at back-up power?
Biodiesel has a higher bio and water content and thus has a poorer storage capability than regular diesel. Biodiesel is more susceptible to aging due to microorganisms in the fuel and can even tip over. This is referred to as the "diesel plague", where a bio-sludge forms in the fuel that can cause equipment malfunction and damage. Since fuel is often stored for long periods in emergency power systems, we view this fuel rather critically for this area. We consider other alternative fuels, such as the synthetic EN 15940 and e-fuels, to be more suitable for this purpose. Nevertheless, we have approved an admixture of 7 % biodiesel, as is common today in fuels according to EN590, without any further measures. For blending up to 20% biodiesel, we recommend various accompanying measures such as additives, a tank maintenance system or engine flushing.
Is it possible to connect emergency generators in data centers to the grid for control reserve and thus support the expansion of renewable energies?
Absolutely! Emergency gensets offer excellent conditions for feeding control reserve into the power grid and thus compensating for fluctuations in the grid (frequency and voltage) caused by the increased integration of renewable energies. The gensets can thus play a significant role in supporting the energy transition (and integration of renewables). To this end, there are various capacity markets in different countries in which to participate and create another source of income. For many years, Rolls-Royce Power Systems has had cooperative agreements with various national and international companies that enable our gensets to be integrated into the respective capacity markets.