It will use the demonstrator to test future zero-carbon energy systems and present these to its customers.
Andreas Schell, CEO of Rolls-Royce Power Systems, said: "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. Fuel cells shall form an elementary part of our product portfolio for sustainable solutions."
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 vapour - as well as being low-noise, low-maintenance and vibration-free.
Dr Peter Riegger, vice president of Rolls-Royce PowerLab, said: "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 decarbonising propulsion and electrical power supply systems."
The complex hydrogen infrastructure, which requires a lot of investment, is now installed and the container set up complete with its four low-temperature polymer-electrolyte membrane (PEM) fuel cell modules. Designed at the company's plants in Ruhstorf and Friedrichshafen, the company said this took quite a lot of work by engineers across a variety of sites.
Safety reasons dictate that the container has two separate compartments for fuel cells and batteries, plus a host of power electronics. The control system has been fully refined, cooling and air conditioning are on the roof, and a rack system enables simple maintenance, allowing individual system modules to be replaced as required.
The energy systems using fuel cell modules from the automotive sector have been put through their paces on the test stand. Riegger explained: "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 planned 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. Rolls-Royce Power Systems is setting up a 250kW hydrogen fuel cell demonstrator at its plant in Friedrichshafen, Germany.
Rolls-Royce has also implemented new brand architecture at its power systems business unit, and its MTU subsidiaries will now bear the Rolls-Royce name. With this new branding, Rolls-Royce Power Systems said it is "creating clarity at the product and solution level, while at the same time underscoring its affiliation to British parent Rolls-Royce".
All the business unit's subsidiaries which had MTU in their names will be renamed to contain the wording 'Rolls-Royce Solutions'. At product level, the 'MTU Onsite Energy' brand for distributed power supply systems will be discontinued and merged within the MTU brand.
The process will start on June 15, when the five largest operating companies representing MTU products and solutions will be renamed. MTU Friedrichshafen will become Rolls-Royce Solutions. The names of the regional companies in America and Asia, and the German subsidiaries in Augsburg and Ruhstorf will include the appropriate geographical references, such as ‘Rolls-Royce Solutions Americas'. The other local and regional Rolls-Royce Power Systems companies of will be renamed by the end of September 2021.
Schell commented: "In this way, we are positioning our world-renowned MTU product and solution brand in the minds and hearts of our customers. At the same time, we're benefiting from the Rolls-Royce brand in a global context and bolstering our appeal as an international employer. Our new brand architecture lends more clarity as we continue to stand for the highest levels of technological expertise, a solution-centred approach and a true pioneering spirit - characteristics that unite both brands."