Rolls-Royce builds new fuel cell demonstrator

Rolls-Royce builds new fuel cell demonstrator

Power supply with fuel cells: Rolls-Royce is currently setting up a demonstrator at the Friedrichshafen plant to test sustainable and climate-friendly power supply based on fuel cells. Fuel cell systems will be an essential part of Rolls-Royce’s sustainable MTU solutions portfolio.


The energy systems, using fuel cell modules from the automotive sector, have been put through their paces on a test stand, and the 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.


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.


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