Rolls-Royce sets up infrastructure for green hydrogen production

18 April 2023

Rolls-Royce plans to produce green hydrogen at its business unit Rolls-Royce Power Systems’ headquarters in Friedrichshafen, Germany, within the next few years, and use it to test its mtu hydrogen engines and fuel cell systems on its test benches. 

Norbert Markert, head of the H2Infrastructure project at Rolls-Royce Power Systems, commented: “Our new facilities will cover a large part of the hydrogen value chain – from infrastructure to production, distribution and use. The project presents some challenges in terms of engineering, safety and regulatory approvals. Our customers will benefit from our experience”. 

The project is being supported by the Baden-Württemberg Ministry for the Environment, Climate and Energy Management with a €4.25 million subsidy, whose minister, Thekla Walker commented on the need for a  “ a rapid ramp-up of the hydrogen industry”.

The H2Infrastructure funding covers the production of green hydrogen by means of innovative PEM electrolysis, including the necessary infrastructure and the construction of test benches that are specifically designed and adapted for the development of sustainable hydrogen-based solutions. Rolls-Royce plans to successively expand hydrogen production capacities of up to 10 MW in the long term in order to be able to provide sufficient green hydrogen for development processes in hydrogen propulsion technology.

In the words of Dr Daniel Chatterjee, director Sustainability, Technology Strategy & Regulatory Affairs at Rolls-Royce Power Systems, “We see hydrogen as one of the central elements of the energy transition. It can be used to store renewable energy and as a fuel for engines, fuel cells and combined heat and power plants to generate climate-neutral electricity and heat and is the basis for so-called e-fuels.”

Rolls-Royce is developing its own standardised mtu electrolysers with outputs of up to 4 MW, and intended to be scalable to more than 100 MW. To this end, the company has acquired a stake in Hoeller Electrolyzer, a specialist that develops and manufactures the electrolysis stack, the core component of the electrolyser. 

Rolls-Royce says it is looking at the entire hydrogen ecosystem. The company is also developing energy and propulsion systems that use hydrogen as a fuel, either directly or in a processed form as e-fuels. These include hydrogen engines for power and heat supply and fuel cell systems for emergency power supply.

Image courtesy of Rolls-Royce

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