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Rolls-Royce and cellcentric deploy hydrogen fuel cell modules

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Cellcentric, a joint venture firm formed by Daimler Truck AG and Volvo Group AB, is taking the next step in its strategic cooperation with Rolls-Royce to deploy cellcentric hydrogen fuel cell modules.

With the help of cellcentric’s fuel cell modules, Rolls-Power Royce’s Systems business unit is working to produce entire mtu hydrogen fuel cell solutions that only emit water vapour. Emergency power generation in data centers will be C02-free and carbon neutral as a result of this. When it comes to backup power, Rolls-Royce is a major provider to data centers throughout the globe. As both Rolls-Royce and cellcentric are eager to play a role in promoting the commercialization of fuel cell applications for the mass market, they believe that both the technology and the time are right.

A single fuel cell module will be able to power around 10 households in the future, and can be combined with other modules to form scalable power plants that can provide clean backup power for huge data centers. A fuel cell demonstrator plant was commissioned by Rolls-Royce earlier this year, and a second plant is expected to be operational in 2022. In 2023, Rolls-Royce plans to begin installing pilot plants with customers, with the company releasing its regular production fuel cell systems in 2025. The Rolls-Royce booth at COP26 in Glasgow, Scotland, features a fuel cell module.

The market for huge data centers that handle telecommunications and internet traffic is increasing quickly, and the operators of these centers are considered a critical customer group. It is Rolls-goal Royce’s to help energy-intensive data centers lower their carbon footprint by allowing them to completely abandon the use of power generated from fossil fuels.

“Electrical generators based on fuel cells represent the next leap forward in the energy transition, both for us and our customers,” said Andreas Schell, CEO of Rolls-Royce Power Systems. “That’s why we’re investing a three-digit million amount in R&D over the next few years and we hope that this strong commitment will encourage governments and politicians to promote and support this pioneering, extremely climate-friendly, technology. When they run on green hydrogen, meaning hydrogen made using renewable energy sources, fuel cells are climate-neutral. For this reason, and also because we’re simply convinced by fuel cell technology, we also want to look into how green hydrogen can be produced cost-effectively in the quantities we need.”

Perry Kuiper, President Sustainable Power Solutions at Rolls-Royce Power Systems, added “We’re among the world’s top three suppliers of emergency gensets for data centers and as such we enjoy the long-standing trust of our customers, who are now seeking sustainable solutions to their energy supply needs. We’ve declared it our mission to have over half of data centers supplied by emergency power from fuel cells in the future.” Development of CO2-free solutions using hydrogen technology is taking place at Rolls-Royce Power Systems in its new ‘Power Lab’ division.

Dr. Matthias Jurytko, CEO cellcentric, said: “The hydrogen-based fuel cell is a crucial building block to achieve the goal of a CO2-neutral society. With Rolls-Royce, we have an important partner at our side with whom we want to achieve further economies of scale to help the technology achieve a breakthrough. Our cooperation sends a clear signal to politicians and industry: both companies are convinced of the benefits of fuel cells and are working hard to commercialize them. The right framework conditions for this must therefore now be put in place. This applies in particular to the issue of infrastructure and thus the generation, storage and transport of hydrogen.”

With a partnership with cellcentric, Rolls-Royce may use fuel cell modules made by a leading supplier with a long history of manufacturing fuel cell modules. Cellcentric’s rapid deployment of a significant number of fuel cells has enabled it to ramp up its series production while the preparation for on-road use is still ongoing. Their use in Daimler Truck AG and Volvo heavy-duty utility trucks is scheduled for the second part of this century.

Anela Dokso

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