Power systems engineering company Rolls-Royce Power Systems plans to cut its greenhouse-gas emissions by 35% by 2030, compared with a 2019 baseline, through the use of new net-zero and zero-carbon technologies.
This near-term target plays a significant role in the Rolls-Royce group’s ambition to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050 at the latest.
Rolls-Royce Power Systems CEO Andreas Schell says that to accomplish the 2050 goal requires the company to realign its strategy towards ecofriendly energy and propulsion systems. “We already see these explicitly as growth opportunities for our business in the coming years.”
A key element in achieving these goals is the certification of the Rolls-Royce’s mtu engine products, which will run on sustainable fuels from as early as 2023 and then be successively brought into use.
Rolls-Royce Power Systems CTO and COO Dr Otto Preiss explains that the certification means that the new generation of Series 2000 and 4000 engines, which currently account for 85% of the company’s sales revenues, will be qualified to run on second-generation biofuels and on so-called e-fuels.
mtu engines are used in a wide variety of applications, such as in energy supply, commercial shipping, heavy land vehicles, passenger trains and in yachts.
Rolls-Royce Power Systems is taking a multi-pillar approach to reducing emissions.
Besides using sustainable fuels, the Rolls-Royce business unit is also building on new technologies such as carbon dioxide-free fuel cell systems.
From 2025, these will be used in power generation solutions, from balancing energy for compensating fluctuations in the public grid, to continuous power and the provision of emergency power in, for example, hospitals and data centres.
Further, development engineers are also working on engines powered by hydrogen and methanol, as well as on concepts for what the company calls decentralised Power-to-X systems.
Other sustainable solutions such as battery energy storage systems, hybrid propulsion systems for marine and rail applications and microgrids already feature in the Power Systems portfolio for decentralised, environment-friendly power solutions.
“To make as big an impact as possible in the fight against climate change, the first priority of Power Systems is to re-align its product portfolio towards sustainability,” says Preiss.
He adds that this is the area the company is concentrating on at present because that is where it determines the biggest potential for cutting GHG emissions exists.
“But this year will also see us setting milestones for gearing our production and value chain to long-term climate neutrality,” he explains.
In total, the Power Systems products sold in 2019, will generate about 109-million tonnes of GHG emissions over their service life in the field – almost double that emitted by the greater London region every year.
This provides the company with leverage in terms of lowering emissions, says Schell.
However, he adds that the onus is on policy-makers as well to put in place stable framework conditions for sustainable energy solutions in the areas of industry in which Rolls-Royce operates. This provides clear incentives to participate in the changeover to sustainable products.