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Mercedes-Benz’ Lab1886 supporting Rolls-Royce Power Systems in pilot project for stationary fuel-cell systems

Lab1886, the innovation unit for business models within Mercedes-Benz AG, is now supporting drive and energy system provider Rolls-Royce Power Systems AG in a pilot project in the field of stationary energy supply systems.

Over the coming months, Rolls-Royce will develop a holistic concept for future sustainable and independent emergency power supply under its MTU product and solutions brand based on automotive fuel cells. It is intended primarily for safety-critical areas of application such as data centers—an area which today is covered by conventional engines.


The project is already in the development phase. Construction of plants for the pilot project is planned to begin at the start of next year.

Mercedes-Benz cites the project as a prime example of the symbiosis of battery and fuel-cell technology and a key step on the road to CO2 neutrality.

Fuel-cell technology is an integral part of the Mercedes-Benz’s powertrain strategy. Mercedes-Benz has completed millions of test kilometers around the globe and, with the Mercedes-Benz GLC F-CELL fuel-cell plug-in hybrid (weighted hydrogen consumption: 0.91 kg/100 km, weighted CO2 emissions: 0 g/km, weighted power consumption: 18 kWh/100 km), it has recently set a further technological milestone.

As a provider of integrated solutions, the decarbonization of the drive system and energy supply is one of our strategic goals which we are pursuing in a technology-neutral manner. As part of this, fuel-cell technology is a key technology for us. The principle of the fuel cell is as ingenious as it is simple, the technology is well-known but nevertheless demanding in terms of its application. Now it is ready for series production and therefore ready for the commercial market.

We are delighted that in Lab1886 we have a partner whose technological excellence is an outstanding match for us. We are convinced that the fuel-cell module from Mercedes-Benz will open up new application options in stationary operation, namely in our markets, too.

—Dr Martin Teigeler, Head of R&D of the Rolls-Royce Power Systems business unit

Along with fuel-cell technology, Rolls-Royce is involved in the production of hydrogen and other synthetic fuels with energy from renewable sources—also for use in fuel cells.

Fuel cells as the ideal choice for micro-grids in computer centers. Computer centers are among the largest energy consumers in the new economy, and this consumption is showing considerable growth rates. The increasing energy requirement must be met with a sustainable and environmentally compatible power supply. Fuel cells are a very promising technology in this sector.

No other energy technology offers such high reliability, modular scalability and all the advantages of renewable energy without dependence on the conventional energy market. When constantly supplied with hydrogen, fuel-cell systems continuously generate electrical power. Synergies can also be used in the cooling system: the output temperature of the computer coolant is the same as the input temperature of the fuel-cell coolant.

At the end of 2017, Lab1886 and Mercedes-Benz Fuel Cell extended their development portfolio to include the field of stationary fuel-cell systems in cooperation with Mercedes-Benz Research and Development North America (MBRDNA). Together with Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), Power Innovations (PI) and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), in the US the company is testing automotive fuel cells in stationary energy supply systems for (emergency) power supply of computer centers, thus reinforcing the potential of hydrogen and fuel cells within the framework of a future sustainable overall energy system.



Even when natural gas is the source of hydrogen it looks as though it will be possible to produce only easily storable or usable solid CO2 as a by-product at good cost:



Hydrogen is a major product of "supertorrefaction" of green wood, at some 3.4% of the wet mass:



Rolls Royce has been making fuel cells for a while.


The picture shows a diesel engine, right?

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