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A Sustainable Future for Combustion Engines


“The internal combustion engine will play a central role in the future. Because it’s the fuel that matters, not the engine,” explains Dr Jörg Stratmann, CEO of Rolls-Royce Power Systems.

At a new facility in Lake Constance, Germany, we are demonstrating a commitment to enabling the energy transition by investing in the future prospects of internal combustion engines.

Enabling a sustainable future with the Series 2000

The modern and operationally advanced production facility in Kluftern will be used for the assembly of our mtu Series 2000 engines many of which are now compatible with sustainable fuels.

Sustainable fuels like hydrogenated vegetable oil (HVO) biofuel will be key to achieving carbon neutrality in the future. The investment signifies a vital step in enabling this transition, lowering our dependence on fossil fuels and significantly reducing carbon dioxide emissions from our technologies.

Meeting demand for efficiency

Every aspect of the site has been considered to enhance energy efficiency, including solar panels, e-charging systems and an intelligent building control system to ensure energy-efficient operation.

Likewise, the site has provided the opportunity for numerous assembly line optimisations, from delivering a more ergonomic line layout to having all data available on workstation screens suspended from movable arms. Altogether, the new assembly line has enabled a production capacity of up to 2000 engines per year.

Creating an enabling environment for change

Many of our mtu engines have already been approved for use with sustainable fuels like HVO, which can enable up to 90 per cent CO2 reduction as well as lowering particulate and nitrogen oxide emissions. Unlike some other alternative fuels, HVO is widely available and can be produced on an industrial scale from hydrogenated vegetable oil and waste materials from the catering and food industries.

We’ve also launched hybrid systems for rail, shipping and energy which will enable us to provide climate-friendly propulsion technologies in the future for applications from commercial ships, yachts, land and rail vehicles to energy systems where complete electrification is not an optimal solution in the long-term.

This recent investment shows our commitment to creating an enabling environment for the increased use of sustainable fuels, including engaging with policymakers and the wider industry to accelerate availability. Jörg explains: “We are doing everything we can to make the internal combustion engine climate-neutral with sustainable fuels and in combination with new technologies. But this can only be achieved if the political framework conditions are set so that alternative fuel production can be successfully ramped up.”

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