Rolls-Royce to set up infrastructure for production and use of green hydrogen

By Jack Burke17 April 2023

Company sees hydrogen as a central element to the energy transition 

Rolls-Royce will produce green hydrogen at its business unit Power Systems’ headquarters in Friedrichshafen, Germany within the next few years and use it to test its mtu hydrogen engines and fuel cell systems on its test benches.

“Our new facilities will cover a large part of the hydrogen value chain - from infrastructure to production, distribution and use,” said Norbert Markert, head of the H2Infrastructure project at Rolls-Royce Power Systems. “The project presents some challenges in terms of engineering, safety and regulatory approvals. Our customers will benefit from our experience.”

The project is being supported by the Baden-Württemberg Ministry for the Environment, Climate and Energy Management with €4.25 million.

Rolls-Royce sets up the infrastructure for the production and use of green hydrogen at its headquarters. (Image: Rolls-Royce)

The “H2Infrastructure” funding project covers the production of green hydrogen by means of PEM electrolysis, including the necessary infrastructure and the construction of test benches that are specifically designed and adapted for the development of sustainable hydrogen-based solutions. Rolls-Royce plans to expand hydrogen production capacities of up to 10 MW in the long term in order to be able to provide sufficient green hydrogen for development processes in hydrogen propulsion technology.

Dr. Daniel Chatterjee, Director Sustainability, Technology Strategy & Regulatory Affairs at Rolls-Royce Power Systems, said the company sees hydrogen as one of the central elements of the energy transition.

“It can be used to store renewable energy and as a fuel for engines, fuel cells and combined heat and power plants to generate climate-neutral electricity and heat and is the basis for so-called e-fuels,” he said.

Rolls-Royce is developing its own standardized mtu electrolyzers with outputs of up to four MW, which can be scaled to more than 100 MW. To this end, the company has acquired a stake in Hoeller Electrolyzer, a specialist that develops and manufactures the electrolysis stack. This is the core component of the electrolyzer. Daniel Chatterjee said: “The common goal of Rolls-Royce and Hoeller Electrolyzer is to develop a solution to produce hydrogen with green energy at low cost and on a large scale. This also creates the opportunity to store and use solar and wind power, thus making an important contribution to the energy transition.”

In addition to working on solutions for scalable green hydrogen production, the company said it is also developing energy and propulsion systems that use hydrogen as a fuel, either directly or in a processed form as e-fuels. These include hydrogen engines for power and heat supply and fuel cell systems for emergency power supply.

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