Rolls-Royce has announced its first step in the hydrogen production market with the recent acquisition of a 54% majority stake in electrolysis stack specialist Hoeller Electrolyzer. Germany-based Hoeller Electrolyzer’s innovative technology will form the basis of a new range of mtu hydrogen electrolyzer products from its Power Systems division.
Hydrogen electrolysis is the process of using electricity to split water into hydrogen and oxygen. Electrolysis uses DC electricity for water electrolysis, producing hydrogen at the negative pole and oxygen at the positive pole. This makes it possible to produce carbon-neutral hydrogen by using electricity from renewable sources such as solar or wind.
The electrochemical reaction takes place in a cell between plate-shaped electrodes separated by membranes. Hundreds of cells located one above the other and pressed together form a ‘stack,’ the heart of an electrolyzer.
Rolls-Royce will use the polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) stacks developed by the German company to make its mtu electrolyzers. Hoeller Electrolyzer makes these stacks under the Prometheus brand, claiming that they are not only highly efficient but also cost-effective. That’s because it uses special surface technologies for the bipolar plates, which significantly reduce the use of expensive precious metals platinum and iridium as catalysts, as well as increase output pressure.
Rolls-Royce is already working on the first mtu electrolyzer using a stack from Hoeller Electrolyzer. 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.
The first mtu electrolyzer to be launched will boast several megawatts of power right from the start. By combining several electrolyzers, the company expects a total output of over 100 megawatts.
meta: Rolls-Royce is developing its new mtu electrolyzers using highly efficient polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) stacks developed by Hoeller Electrolyzer.