Rolls-Royce announces successful tests of mtu genset with 100% hydrogen fuel

17th January 2023

By: Rebecca Campbell

Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor


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UK-based global major power and propulsion systems group Rolls-Royce has announced that its Germany-based Power Systems business unit has successfully tested an mtu-brand generator set (genset) using 100% hydrogen fuel. The genset was a “further developed” mtu Series 4000 L64 12-cylinder gas engine.

“We see hydrogen as one of the central elements of the energy transition,” highlighted Rolls-Royce Power Systems CEO Dr Jörg Stratmann. “It can be used for both storage of excess energy and as a fuel, not only for engines but fuel cells and cogeneration plants to generate climate-neutral electricity and heat.”

The engine’s first 100%-hydrogen fuel test programme produced very good results regarding combustion, efficiency, performance and emissions. The success of the programme marked, the company stated, an “important step” towards commercial use of hydrogen-powered sustainable energy systems. “This engine will serve the market demand for hydrogen solutions in the energy transition and will be available to our customers as a reliable and clean power source for gensets and combined heat and power plants,” pointed out Rolls-Royce Power Systems Stationary Power Solutions president Tobias Ostermaier.

The genset was bench-tested for several months with 100% hydrogen fuel. Because hydrogen combustion behaves differently to natural gas combustion, it was necessary to modify some key components of the test engine. These included the fuel injection system, turbocharger, and piston design and control. But Power Systems was able to use proven technologies already within its portfolio to implement these modifications rapidly and efficiently.

“We are very pleased with the rapid progress,” affirmed Rolls-Royce Power Systems hydrogen-fuelled genset project engineer Andrea Prospero. “The very low engine emissions are well below the strict [European Union] limits, no exhaust gas aftertreatment is required.”

Using green hydrogen, that is hydrogen produced using other low- or zero-carbon energy sources, as fuel, the mtu gensets would operate in a carbon dioxide-neutral manner. Their first application will be in the planned new climate-neutral container terminal at the inland river port of Duisberg, in Germany. Specifically, 100%-hydrogen-fuelled mtu gensets will be used to power the enerPort II lighthouse project. 

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter



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