Rolls-Royce Power Systems has set up Power Lab, a new standalone unit focused on developing net zero carbon drive and energy options for the marine sector and business and power grid infrastructure
The Power Lab has set its sights on the use of fuel cells in marine propulsion and power generation. Rolls-Royce senior manager fuel cell design Dr Philippe Gorse said the fuel cell’s overall efficiency and reduced emissions make it an attractive option to contributing to the decarbonisation of drive systems.
Rolls-Royce’s Power Lab unit will be headed by Dr Peter Riegger, who previously led the company’s research and technology division. Dr Riegger said the key to capturing new markets is a willingness to embrace new technology and create long-term partnerships to nurture the development of technologies.
“Our research engineers now have more technological freedom to develop new ideas and refine them in co-operation with customers and partners,” he said.
One of the new technologies on the Power Lab’s agenda involves producing and deploying fuels based on renewable energies (Power-to-X). According to Dr Daniel Chatterjee who oversees Technology Management and Regulatory Affairs in Power Lab, the company is looking to bring its drive and energy systems closer to CO2 neutrality.
Rolls-Royce Power Systems is also co-operating with Daimler Truck on developing carbon neutral fuel cell systems to supply emergency power to business infrastructure such as data centres as well as power grid infrastructure.
Since the end of 2019, the partnership has been looking at taking fuel cell modules used in automobile production to create a demonstrator that will contribute to the power requirements of Rolls-Royce’s facilities in Friedrichshafen, Germany. The demonstrator will support the goal of using fuel cell modules that are in development for commercial vehicles for other applications, such as stationary power plants.
Calling the establishment of the Power Lab a ’milestone’, Rolls-Royce Power Systems chief executive Andreas Schell said “We have made it our mission to leverage the trends we are seeing in our markets by creating the new drive and energy solutions our customers are looking for which support a climate-neutral future. Therefore, it is essential that the development of our product portfolio is centred on new technologies which enable this future.”