Rolls-Royce is entering the hydrogen production market and acquiring a 54% majority stake in electrolysis stack specialist Hoeller Electrolyzer. The Hoeller technology will form the basis of a new range of mtu electrolyzer products from the Rolls-Royce Power Systems division.
Hoeller Electrolyzer, based in Wismar, Germany, is an early-stage technology company that is developing highly efficient polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) stacks, under the brand name Prometheus, for the cost-effective production of hydrogen.
Rolls-Royce’s first mtu electrolyzer will go into demonstrator operation in 2023. The core element is the electrolysis stack from Hoeller Electrolyzer, in which Rolls-Royce has a 54% stake.
Demand for green hydrogen is expected to rise significantly. It is needed for fuel cells and hydrogen engines, for the production of synthetic drop-in fuels and for industrial processes that currently use hydrogen that is not created in a carbon neutral process. Consequently, high-performance electrolyzers are a key component of any hydrogen system.
By developing our own mtu electrolyzers and by taking a majority stake in Hoeller Electrolyzers, we are methodically growing our hydrogen portfolio and securing access to this fascinating technology, which is not a pipe dream but has great market potential. This will enable us to supply complete hydrogen solutions and make a significant contribution to protecting the climate. Our complete hydrogen solutions will enable customers to store renewably produced energy in the form of hydrogen for use as and when required, or for further processing or onward sale.—Dr. Otto Preiss, COO and Chief Technology Officer, Rolls-Royce Power Systems
Founded in 2016, Hoeller Electrolyzer has positioned itself, with Prometheus, as a player in the field of high-efficiency PEM electrolysis stacks. Its founder, Stefan Höller, has more than a quarter of a century’s experience of developing electrolysis technology and has already registered 14 patents connected with Prometheus. Particularly high efficiency is promised by special surface technologies for the bipolar plates which significantly reduce the use of expensive precious metals platinum and iridium as catalysts, as well as increased output pressure.
Our stack is going to produce hydrogen at a price not previously thought possible.—Stefan Höller, Managing Director, Hoeller Electrolyzer
Development work on the first mtu electrolyzer using a stack from Hoeller Electrolyzer is already underway. In 2023, it will go into operation at the Validation Center in Friedrichshafen to demonstrate how an electrolyzer fits into the overall architecture of a microgrid. An initial customer project is already planned for 2024.
We’re going to launch electrolyzers with several megawatts of power right from the start. A total output of over 100 megawatts is conceivable by combining several electrolyzers.—Armin Fürderer, who heads up the Net Zero Solutions business unit of Power Systems
The equity in Hoeller Electrolyzer now held by Rolls-Royce comes from departing minority shareholders and from an increase in share capital. Financial details of the transaction are not being disclosed. Stefan Höller and Matthias Kramer will continue to lead Hoeller Electrolyzer as a standalone company, with the goal of building a leading international stack manufacturer.