New Rolls-Royce Power Lab to develop net zero carbon marine solutions

Rolls-Royce has set up its new Power Lab unit to develop cutting-edge technologies for the marine and infrastructure sectors, with a ‘strong emphasis’ on fuel cell systems and the production and deployment of synthetic fuels.

Commenting on the new unit, Andreas Schell, CEO of Rolls-Royce Power Systems, said: ‘We’ve made it our mission to leverage the trends we’re seeing in our markets by creating the new drive and energy solutions our customers are looking for which support a climate-neutral future. Therefore, it is essential that the development of our product portfolio is centered on new technologies which enable this future. The Power Lab is an important milestone on the path we’re taking.’

The Power Lab unit will be headed by Dr Peter Riegger, who previously led the Research & Technology division. He said that setting up Power Lab will mean that the company’s research engineers ‘now have more technological freedom to develop new ideas and refine them in cooperation with customers and partners’.

One of the new technologies on the Power Lab’s agenda involves producing and deploying fuels based on renewable energies (sometimes referred to as ‘Power-to-X’).

Dr Arne Schneemann, who is responsible for pre-development in the Power Lab team, commented; ‘Synthetic fuels can support the net zero carbon operation of both today’s existing drive and energy systems and those of the future, in addition to enabling the storage of renewables-based energies. We believe in this technology and are keen to endorse its development in collaborations and research projects.’

Dr Daniel Chatterjee, who oversees Technology Management and Regulatory Affairs in the Power Lab and also drives the company’s Green and High-Tech Program, added: ‘We’re placing the emphasis on improved efficiencies, alternative fuels, electrification, digitalization and integrated system solutions with the aim of continually enhancing the eco-friendliness of our drive and energy systems and bringing them closer to their CO2 neutrality.’

Rolls Royce said the Power Lab is also focusing on the use of fuel cells in power generation and marine propulsion. Dr Philippe Gorse, whose team is responsible for conceptual work on the fuel cell in the Power Lab, explained why: ’In terms of overall efficiency, the fuel cell is the undisputed front-runner and on top of that generates ultra-low to zero emissions. That makes it a highly attractive option for contributing to the decarbonisation of drive systems and power generation.’

Lesley Bankes-Hughes

Lesley Bankes-Hughes