The Anonymous Widower

Rolls-Royce Invests In Methanol Technology For Climate-Friendly Shipping

The title of this post, is the same as this press release from Rolls-Royce.

The press report starts with these bullet points.

  •  Rolls-Royce Power Systems to set standards in high-speed marine methanol engines
  •  New engines based on proven mtu technologies
  •  Methanol and synthetic diesel as key fuels of the future for climate-friendly engine operation
  •  Fuel cell another option on the way to climate-neutral ship operation

It then says this

Rolls-Royce is focusing on methanol as a fuel for climate-friendly shipping: Rolls-Royce business unit Power Systems is currently working on mtu engines for use with methanol. The new high-speed four-stroke engines, which are based on proven mtu technologies, are planned to be available to customers as soon as possible for use in commercial ships and yachts.

This paragraph gives the reasons, why Rolls-Royce is in favour of methanol.

Methanol offers a number of advantages for Rolls-Royce’s efforts to make shipping more climate-friendly and ultimately climate-neutral: The fuel can be produced in a CO2-neutral manner in the so-called power-to-X process, in which CO2 is captured from the air. The energy density of methanol is high compared to other sustainable fuels and, thanks to its liquid state, it can be easily stored and refuelled at ambient temperatures. Existing infrastructure can continue to be used in many cases. Unlike ammonia, methanol is not highly toxic and is environmentally safe. The combustion of methanol in a pure methanol engine can be climate-neutral with significantly reduced nitrogen oxide emissions, thus eliminating the need for complex SCR exhaust gas aftertreatment. Methanol tanks can be flexibly arranged in the ship and require significantly lower safety measures compared to hydrogen or ammonia. Besides the safety aspects and the lower complexity, the lower investment costs for users are a further upside of the methanol tank system.

Methanol seems to be a convenient and safe fuel, which is easier to incorporate into the marine environment, than hydrogen or ammonia.

Wikipedia says this about methanol’s use in shipping.

Methanol is an alternative fuel for ships that helps the shipping industry meet increasingly strict emissions regulations. It significantly reduces emissions of sulphur oxides (SOx), nitrogen oxides (NOx) and particulate matter. Methanol can be used with high efficiency in marine diesel engines after minor modifications using a small amount of pilot fuel (Dual fuel).

Rolls-Royce certainly seem to be keen to use the fuel. They also seem to have the technology.

December 24, 2021 Posted by | Energy | , , , , , | 4 Comments

Fortescue Future Industries To Convert Ship To Ammonia-Fuelled Propulsion Next Year

The title of this post is the same as that of this article on Ship and Bunker.

Andrew Forrest is at it again.

November 11, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , | Leave a comment

What Does 2.5 MW Look Like?

This press release on the Rolls-Royce web site is entitled Rolls-Royce Generator Delivered For Most Powerful Hybrid-Electric Propulsion System In Aerospace.

This Rolls-Royce picture shows the generator installed on a test bed.

These are the first three paragraphs of the press release.

The generator that will be at the heart of the most powerful hybrid-electric aero power and propulsion system in aerospace has arrived for installation at our specialist testbed.

The generator, and related power electronics, was delivered to the newly-renovated Testbed 108 in Bristol, UK, from the Rolls-Royce facility in Trondheim, Norway, having completed an extensive development test programme. It will form part of the 2.5 megawatt (MW) Power Generation System 1 (PGS1) demonstrator programme, for future regional aircraft. In addition to hybrid-electric propulsion, the generator could also be used as part of a “more-electric” system for larger aircraft or within future ground or marine applications.

PGS1 forms an important element of our sustainability strategy, which includes developing innovative electrical power and propulsion systems.

I must say that as an engineer this 2.5 MW generator really excites me, as I see so many possibilities.

  • I am fairly certain, that the generator can be powered by hydrogen, to create a true zero-carbon power generator.
  • Rolls-Royce mention aerospace, ground and marine applications.
  • The physical size must be an advantage, when it comes to some applications.
  • The gas-turbine technology at the heart of the generator has been well-proven in the Lockheed Super Hercules.

But I do note in the press release that there is no mention of hydrogen or rail for which the generator must be eminently suitable.

  • Rolls-Royce subsidiary; mtu are one of the leading companies, who power large rail locomotives.
  • 2.5 MW is ideal for many rail locomotives.
  • The small size must help integration into a rail locomotive.
  • My calculations show that the generator and a hydrogen tank could be fitted into a typical modern rail locomotive.
  • As electric transmissions can be used, the locomotive could also use electrification.

A lot of these arguments would also apply to the very large trucks used in the mining industries and ships of various sizes.

Conclusion

This Rolls-Royce 2.5 MW Generator will have lots of applications.

July 30, 2021 Posted by | Hydrogen, Transport/Travel | , , , , | 1 Comment

Biggest Mobile Hydrogen Fuel Cell In The World To Power Sergey Brin’s Mysterious Airship

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on Hydrogen Fuel News.

This is the introductory paragraph.

LTA Research and Exploration, the secretive and mysterious airship company owned by Google co-founder and former Alphabet President Sergey Brin, will use the biggest mobile hydrogen fuel cell in the world to power its disaster relief airship.

The size of the fuel cell appears to be 1.5 MW according to the Hydrogen Fuel News article.

The company has a web site with a title of The Future Off 21st Century Airships.

The web site talks about vision, focus and their response to Covid-19, so it is certainly not vapourware, although it seems to be more about building the team.

Conclusion

Sergey Brin has his heart in the right place

But he is ploughing a furrow, that has been attempted many times and sadly most attempts have ended in failure.

March 3, 2021 Posted by | Hydrogen, Transport/Travel | , , , | 1 Comment