Rolls-Royce grows global fuel cells capability with US acquisition

Tuesday, 3 April 2007

Rolls-Royce, a world leading provider of power systems and services for use on land, at sea and in the air, today announced it has enhanced its global fuel cell capability with a strategic acquisition in the US.

Rolls-Royce Fuel Cell Systems (US) Inc. has acquired the assets of Ohio-based SOFCo-EFS Holdings LLC from McDermott International Inc. Founded in 2003, the SOFCo-EFS’ research and development team has proven expertise in fuel processing technologies, advanced research and development in Solid Oxide Fuel Cell (SOFC) materials and stacks, and advanced system integration capabilities.

The acquisition underscores the commitment Rolls-Royce is making in developing SOFC systems for megawatt-scale, stationary power applications with the business goal of introducing a competitive product in this decade.

Rolls-Royce began research into fuel cell technology in 1992 and in 2003 established Rolls-Royce Fuel Cell Systems Ltd. In 2005 Rolls-Royce partnered with Singaporean consortium EnerTek to jointly invest $100 million toward developing a commercially-viable power system based on fuel cell technology. Last year the company announced the formation of its US subsidiary, Rolls-Royce Fuel Cell Systems (US) Inc. located on the campus of Stark State College of Technology, Canton, OH.

The company has also opened a new facility at Loughborough University in the UK to pilot the production of ceramic components for use in fuel cell systems.

Mark Fleiner, President of Rolls-Royce Fuel Cell Systems (US) Inc. said: “We are actively growing our global fuel cell capability, and the acquisition of the SOFCo assets aligns with our strategy. From the beginning, our strategy has been to engage the best skills and technology around the world to create the first cost-competitive, highly- efficient fuel cell systems. This acquisition is a critical step on our journey.”

  1. Fuel cells generate electricity by combining fuel and air in an electrochemical reaction. They were first demonstrated in the 19th century, but to date have always been relatively large and expensive to manufacture, depriving them of any real commercial applications.
  2. By utilizing its aerospace technology skills, Rolls-Royce has designed an electrical power system that integrates a solid oxide fuel cell with a micro turbine. This power system promises to be significantly more efficient than any conventional gas turbine or reciprocating engine, with far less impact on the environment. The current objective is a stationary power-generation system providing around 1 megawatt of electricity, for market delivery some time before the end of the decade.
  3. Rolls-Royce operates in four global markets – civil aerospace, defence aerospace, marine and energy and is a significant industry player in North America. The company employs some 8,000 people at more than 64 US locations in 26 states and eight Canadian sites in six provinces.
  4. In the energy sector, Rolls-Royce provides highly efficient aeroderivative gas turbine driven compression, oil pumping and power generation packages for on- and off-shore applications worldwide. To meet society's increasing energy needs, Rolls-Royce is investing in next-generation products and capabilities for the oil & gas and power generation industries.
  5. Rolls-Royce annual sales in North America are more than $3 billion and the company’s total U.S. investment stands at $1 billion and growing. U.S. interests hold more than 30 per cent of Rolls-Royce shares. More Rolls-Royce engines are built in the United States than anywhere else in the world.
  6. Rolls-Royce is a socially responsible corporate citizen and a good neighbour. The company and its employees in North America actively support their local communities. In 2006, the organization contributed more than $1 million to philanthropic causes and efforts across the region.
  7. Rolls-Royce Fuel Cell Systems (US) Inc. has teamed with AEP to test and evaluate prototype fuel cell systems at the Dolan Technology
  8. Center and Walnut Test Facility located near Columbus, OH.

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