UK-based global industrial technology company Rolls-Royce has strengthened its position in both the back-up power systems sector and in Africa by its acquisition of Belgian company Kinolt, a specialist in dynamic uninterruptible power supply (UPS) systems. Kinolt has installed dynamic UPS systems totalling 126.2 MVA in 15 African countries. These are operating in the aviation, banking and finance, broadcasting and telecommunications, data centre and information technology, energy, infrastructure development and manufacturing sectors.
Kinolt will become part of Rolls-Royce’s Power Systems business under its MTU brand. Rolls-Royce already provides back-up power generation systems under MTU, but these are for greenfield and large scale sites. Kinolt systems are ideal for locations where space is limited, such as in urban areas or in existing buildings, and so complement the MTU range. UPS are used where interruptions in the power supply could do great harm, such as in hospitals, data centres and facilities using sensitive manufacturing processes.
“The extraordinary times created by the Covid-19 pandemic have shown just how important it is to secure electricity supply to sensitive and critical infrastructure,” highlighted Rolls-Royce Power Systems CEO Andreas Schell. “The provision of uninterruptible power is vital in any situation and even more so today, as it ensures the provision of vital services such as medical care or the world’s continued flow of Internet traffic. Without it, no public authority or company would be able to act in any crisis.”
The Kinolt system comprises a diesel engine and a generator, that can also be used as an electric motor, and rotating kinetic mass energy storage devices (flywheels). In many Kinolt installations, the diesel engine is from MTU, highlighting one of the synergies in the deal. The external public power system is connected to the Kinolt system, which is then connected to the safety-critical or essential equipment. Normally, the external power is passed through the Kinolt installation, which actually stabilises the grid frequency and voltage in the process. Should the external power supply fail, the flywheel provides power for the few seconds needed for the diesel engine to start generating electricity.
“We originally signed the deal to acquire Kinolt before the full global impact of Covid-19 was apparent,” he pointed out. “Since then we have rigorously examined the rationale for the transaction and the opportunities it presents to our business and concluded that the arguments in favour of the acquisition are even stronger than before.”
“Our worldwide sales and service network will open up new market opportunities for the new portfolio,” affirmed Rolls-Royce Power Generation VP Andreas Görtz. “This will significantly strengthen our market position in safety-critical applications.” (Rolls-Royce Power Systems has its head office in Friedrichshafen in southern Germany.)