Rolls Acquires Power Backup Specialist
By Jack Burke06 July 2020
Rolls-Royce has acquired Belgian company Kinolt, a specialist in dynamic, uninterruptible power supply systems for particularly safety-critical consumers. They are mainly used in computer centers, hospitals or industrial companies with especially sensitive production processes.
The move helps Rolls expand its range of products for emergency power applications.
The company, based in Liège, Belgium, employs around 290 people, has production facilities in Liège and Willich, Germany, and has service and sales offices across the world.
Kinolt’s technology consists of a combination of rotating, kinetic mass storage devices – effectively using momentum to store energy – plus a diesel engine and a generator that doubles up as an electric motor. A special control unit, a power panel and a choke complete the system. As long as the electricity flows from the public grid, it powers the electric motor which in turn drives the kinetic mass accumulator – a flywheel weighing several metric tons. In this operating state (called the Conditioning Mode) the system acts as a voltage stabilizer and mains filter (e.g. for harmonics).
If the public grid fails, the kinetic accumulator immediately takes over, driving the generator via an inductive coupling and ensuring that customer consumers continue to be fed with uninterrupted, stable voltage until the diesel engine has been started and engaged. Now the diesel engine provides the power to drive the generator, again stabilized by the kinetic energy accumulator. This operating state is referred to as the Independent Mode.
Until now, Rolls-Royce has offered MTU standby gensets only. However, these require a certain amount of time to get going. In order to bridge this and obtain power without interruption, customers often use battery storage. The Kinolt system obviates the need for this battery bank. The great benefit of an uninterruptible power supply system using a kinetic energy accumulator is that it is much more energy-efficient than one using batteries.
“With this acquisition, Power Systems is making another major stride in its transformation from an engine manufacturer to a provider of integrated solutions. With Kinolt’s expertise, we are the only manufacturer able to supply our customers with all components – and thus a complete system – for uninterrupted power generation, said Andreas Schell, CEO of Rolls-Royce Power Systems.
Kinolt has been installing our MTU engines in their systems for a long time, said Andreas Görtz, Rolls-Royce’s vice president, Power Generation.
“The acquisition will now take this partnership to a new level – and Kinolt also stands to benefit,” Görtz said. “We will integrate the products into our MTU portfolio and will now be in a much better position to offer the complete systems across the world – in regions including Asia and the US – through our global sales and service network. We expect to see a major boost in orders for Kinolt products.”