Green Hydrogen Innovation Officer of Federal Government visits Rolls-Royce

Posted on July 13, 2021

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  • Dr. Stefan Kaufmann discovers more about research and development projects at Rolls-Royce Power Systems
  • Company driving development of more sustainable solutions with new Business Unit 'Sustainable Power Solutions'
  • Fuel cell and hydrogen engine soon to join the company's product portfolio
  • E-fuels made from green electricity able to power internal combustion engines more cleanly

Rolls-Royce sees hydrogen as one of the key elements in a climate-neutral future. Its Power Systems division is already working hard on fuel cell technology, on a hydrogen engine, and on using renewably produced fuels that will soon be able to power existing internal combustion engines more cleanly. Building the hydrogen ecosystem quickly is a challenge – making interdisciplinary, cross-industry dialog a vital component. Rolls-Royce's Power Systems Division hosted a visit by Dr. Stefan Kaufmann, Green Hydrogen Innovation Officer at Germany's Federal Ministry of Education & Research, and explained its leading-edge research and development projects.

"With our PS 2030 strategy, we laid the foundation for our transformation from an engine manufacturer to a provider of integrated, sustainable solutions back in 2017 and have since passed several important milestones. Since March, with our new business unit Sustainable Power Solutions, we have now created not only the technical but also the organisational prerequisites to lead the way as a pioneer in the fight against climate change”, said Andreas Schell, CEO of Rolls-Royce Power Systems. "However, we can only achieve a climate-neutral future if a wide variety of stakeholders join together and work towards it – and so I am delighted to welcome Dr Kaufmann on this visit.”

"We can only achieve our climate protection goals through innovation. For this, we need everyone: science, business and politics. Rolls-Royce is committed to working with other partners to develop climate-neutral energy and drive solutions," said Dr Stefan Kaufmann. "This is exactly the kind of commitment we need to drive decarbonisation forward. I look forward to continuing to exchange ideas with innovative companies like Rolls-Royce in the future and wish all those involved much success, research spirit and implementation power for their work. Green hydrogen is a key element in reconciling economic strength and climate protection. Together, we must make powerful use of this opportunity".

From Hydrogen to synthetic fuels

Together with industrial companies and universities, Rolls-Royce Power Systems is researching tomorrow's propulsion and drive solutions in the MethQuest research project. Here, Rolls-Royce engineers are working on gas engine designs aimed at reducing methane emissions harmful to the climate, and on methanol and hydrogen combustion. The knowledge gained can be used in the development of new engines.

“The key to zero-carbon mobility and power generation lies in fuels,” said Daniel Chatterjee, Director of Technology Strategy & Regulatory Affairs at Rolls-Royce's Power Systems division. “Thanks to modern power-to-X processes, in which hydrogen is produced by electrolysis with green electricity, hydrogen can be used directly or processed into e-methane, e-methanol or e-diesel, by which even so-called high-power applications such as ships can be operated in a climate-neutral way.”

Fuel cell demonstrator soon to go into operation

One of these new drive-power technologies is the fuel cell in which hydrogen and oxygen react chemically to produce electricity which powers an electric motor with zero emissions.  As early as this autumn/fall, Rolls-Royce will commission an emergency power supply system at its Friedrichshafen facility powered by fuel cells – thereby demonstrating how fuel cells can be used as part of stationary power supply infrastructure.

Rolls-Royce will then take the fuel cell to market in 2025 – initially for power generation applications, and later also as a marine propulsion system.  

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. We joined the UN Race to Zero campaign in 2020, and have committed to ensuring our new products will be compatible with net zero operation by 2030, and all products will be compatible with net zero 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.
Christoph Ringwald Director Communications
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