Rolls-Royce affirmed that fuel cell systems will be a critical component of its portfolio of sustainable solutions, with the luxury carmaker’s CEO expressing a desire to play a “pioneering role in fuel cell applications.”

To demonstrate its commitment, the British engineering behemoth said that it is presently constructing a 250kW demonstrator at its Friedrichshafen, Germany, plant to evaluate sustainable and climate-friendly power generation via fuel cells.

“We firmly believe that fuel cell technology is set to make a huge contribution to a successful energy turnaround. That’s why Rolls-Royce sees it as its mission to assume a pioneering role in fuel cell applications,” said Andreas Schell, CEO of Rolls-Royce Power Systems.

Much has already been accomplished at the Friedrichshafen factory in recent months, with the complicated hydrogen infrastructure in place and the container fully assembled with its four low-temperature polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) fuel cell modules.

The container, which was designed in the company’s operations in Ruhstorf, Bavaria, and Friedrichshafen, is required to include two distinct compartments for fuel cells and batteries, as well as a variety of power electronics.

The control system has been totally optimized, cooling and air conditioning are now located on the roof, and a rack system facilitates simple maintenance by allowing for the replacement of individual system modules as needed. The energy systems have been put through their paces on a test stand using fuel cell modules from the automotive sector, and the Rolls-Royce engineers are more than satisfied with the results.

Dr. Peter Riegger, Vice President Rolls-Royce PowerLab, said, “Power flexing characteristics and performance are excellent, and as expected there are no vibrations or no loud noises. 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.”

Nedim Husomanovic

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