Rolls-Royce puts thrust on fuel cells

Rolls-Royce Fuel Cell Systems (US) has acquired the assets of Ohio-based SOFCo-EFS Holdings from McDermott International for an undisclosed sum.

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.

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

Rolls-Royce began research into fuel cell technology in 1992 and in 2003 established Rolls-Royce Fuel Cell Systems.

In 2005 Rolls-Royce partnered with Singaporean consortium EnerTek to jointly invest $100m 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, Ohio.

The company has also opened a new facility at LoughboroughUniversity 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 aggressively 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.’