To aid in meeting several net zero goals set out in 2021, Rolls-Royce Power Systems’ Series 4000 and Series 1600 diesel engines have now been approved for use with an array of EN15940-certified synthetic diesel fuels in power generation applications.
By conducting a range of tests, the company learned both types of engine were capable of using a range of sustainable fuels. These included biomass to liquid (BtL), hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO) and power to liquid (PtL) fuels like e-diesel; all of which can be used to replace polluting diesel fuel.
“There is already a lot of interest in HVO in particular from many customers in the energy industry and data center business, who want to improve their carbon footprint,” explained Tobias Ostermaier, president of the Stationary Power Solutions business unit at Rolls-Royce Power Systems. “The results from pilot customers show a significant reduction in greenhouse gases, nitrogen oxide and particulate emissions by using HVO instead of fossil diesel in their gensets.”
By utilizing HVO as a fuel, CO2, NOx and particulate emissions can be greatly reduced. Produced using waste vegetable and animal fats, and used cooking oils, these base materials are converted into hydrocarbons through catalytic reaction with the addition of hydrogen. By using this process, the fats and vegetable oils can supplement diesel as an admixture and can even replace it completely.
Compared to traditionally used diesel, HVO benefits from a cleaner combustion with a reduction in particulate emissions of up to 80%, NOx emissions by an average of 8% and CO2 emissions by up to 90% when manufacturing processes and logistics utilize renewable energy.
When using the HVO, the mtu engines saw no drop in performance in terms of their maximum power output, load acceptance and fuel consumption levels. Designed as a drop-in fuel, the mtu engines can utilize HVO without the need for any costly modifications or adaptations to the system hardware or software. Furthermore, the stability of the synthetic fuel when stored is also much better than that of biodiesel.
In 2021 Rolls-Royce announced it would realign the Power Systems product portfolio as part of the company’s sustainability program. By 2030, the company aims for new fuels and mtu technologies to save 35% greenhouse gas emissions compared to 2019 levels.
At present, Rolls-Royce is successfully operating an mtu fuel cell system in addition to gradually releasing further engines which are capable of running on sustainable fuels in a range of applications.