Photo: Image courtesy: Rolls-Royce

Rolls-Royce launches Power Lab unit to develop fuel cells, synthetic fuels

British engineering major Rolls-Royce with its Friedrichshafen-based business Power Systems has set up a new organizational unit named Power Lab, which will focus on developing net-zero carbon drive and energy solutions for the marine and infrastructure sectors.

The company plans to put a strong emphasis on fuel cell systems and the production and deployment of synthetic fuels.

Rolls Royce
Image courtesy: Rolls-Royce

“We’ve made it our mission to leverage the trends we’re 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 centered on new technologies which enable this future,” said Andreas Schell, CEO of Rolls-Royce Power Systems.

“The Power Lab is an important milestone on the path we’re taking.”

Rolls-Royce’s new organisational unit is headed by Dr Peter Riegger, who previously led the Research & Technology division.

One of the new technologies on the Power Lab’s agenda involves producing and deploying fuels based on renewable energies (Power-to-X).

“Synthetic fuels can support the net zero carbon operation of both today’s existing drive and energy systems and those of the future, in addition to enabling the storage of renewables-based energies. We believe in this technology and are keen to endorse its development in collaborations and research projects,” explained Dr Arne Schneemann, responsible for pre-development in the Power Lab team. 

Dr Daniel Chatterjee oversees Technology Management and Regulatory Affairs in the Power Lab and also drives the company’s Green and High-Tech Program.

“We’re placing the emphasis on improved efficiencies, alternative fuels, electrification, digitalization and integrated system solutions with the aim of continually enhancing the eco-friendliness of our drive and energy systems and bringing them closer to their CO2 neutrality”, he said.

The Power Lab has also set its sights on the use of fuel cells in power generation and marine propulsion.

“In terms of overall efficiency, the fuel cell is the undisputed front-runner and on top of that generates ultra-low to zero emissions,” said Dr Philippe Gorse, whose team is responsible for conceptual work on the fuel cell in the Power Lab.

“That makes it a highly attractive option for contributing to the decarbonisation of drive systems and power generation.”

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