Rolls-Royce has partnered with Daimler Truck AG to develop stationary fuel-cell generators as CO2-neutral emergency power generators for safety-critical facilities such as data centers.

The two will form a new joint venture company that will develop and supply the generators from the end of 2020.

The fuel-cell generators are an emissions-free alternative to diesel engines, which are currently used as emergency power generators or to cover peak loads.

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Rolls-Royce and Daimler Truck Ag reached an agreement in 2019 to partner on a pilot project to develop a demonstrator for the use of this technology for stationary power supply on the basis of fuel-cell modules from the automotive sector.

The product developed as part of the pilot will go into operation in Friedrichshafen by the end of this year.

The Rolls-Royce Power Systems business unit plans to rely on these fuel-cell systems from the planned joint venture – as well as Daimler’s many years of experience – in the emergency power generators it develops and distributes for data centers under the MTU product and solution brand.

Andreas Schell, the CEO of Rolls-Royce, said: “Data centers are the nodes of the global information and communication network, whose vital importance has become particularly clear in these difficult times and whose operation must therefore be reliably safeguarded. The same applies to other safety-critical systems. Under our MTU brand, we develop customized solutions, thousands of which we have already installed, for data centers’ individual, complex and growing energy needs.

“The decarbonization of drive systems and power supply is one of our central strategic goals of our PS2030 strategy and fuel cells will play a key role in this. No other technology offers such high reliability, modular scalability and all the advantages of renewable energies without dependence on the conventional energy market. Through the cooperation with Daimler Trucks, we will gain access to fuel-cell systems that meet our demanding requirements and will thus further strengthen our outstanding position in this growth market.”

“For Daimler Truck AG, fuel-cell systems play a decisive role in achieving CO2-neutral transport – as a supplement to battery-electric drive. Only End of April, we announced our intention to establish a joint venture with the Volvo Group. With the agreement for stationary fuel-cell systems concluded, we are already demonstrating very concrete opportunities for the commercialization of this technology through the joint venture,” stated Martin Daum, Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler Truck AG and Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG.

“We are delighted that Rolls-Royce is as convinced as we are of the future of fuel cells in the stationary sector and would like to enter into this long-term cooperation with us. On the one hand, this represents further impetus for the development of a hydrogen infrastructure across all sectors and applications; on the other hand, it will enable us to work together to further increase the economy of fuel cells, as well as society’s acceptance of and confidence in them,” continued Martin Daum.

Daimler Truck AG and the Volvo Group plan to start large-scale production of heavy-duty fuel-cell commercial vehicles for demanding and heavy long-haul applications in the second half of the decade.