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Rolls-Royce and Sowitec Partner Up for a Green Hydrogen-Powered Future

Green hydrogen has been previously described as a “fascinating technology with great market potential,” which may be why Rolls-Royce and Sowitec are now getting serious about electrolysis – the process that uses direct current (DC) to generate a chemical separation. Here’s what you need to know.
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Rolls-Royce is mostly known for its involvement in the civil aerospace industry by manufacturing plane engines. Airbus and Boeing are their customers, but the British brand is also providing defense solutions and power systems. Now it's trying to electrify aviation.

Sowitec says that it’s “one of the largest developers of renewable energy projects worldwide.” The company has implemented or is currently developing wind and solar projects in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, France, Germany, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Mexico, Peru, Thailand, Uruguay, Vietnam, and Russia.

The two entities are now joining forces to create green hydrogen. Having the advantage of being stored either as a gas or a liquid, green hydrogen is obtained by splitting water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen through electrolysis. When it’s made using renewable direct current, it’s labeled as green hydrogen.

Rolls-Royce and Sowitec will build factories powered by renewable energy that are going to produce green hydrogen through electrolysis. They estimate the construction will reach a net capacity of 500 MW by 2028, according to EngineeringNews. Sowitec will handle the renewable energy part, while Rolls-Royce will make sure to bring its broad expertise in hydrogen engines, fuel cells, and electrolyzers.

This isn’t happening by chance, and it isn’t an experiment. Hydrogen (or green hydrogen) is currently perceived in industrious Germany as the next best way to replace fossil fuels. The U.S. already won the battery-electric vehicle race thanks to Tesla, so the European nation is looking to catch up by offering an entirely different alternative. And there’s strong political support for green hydrogen. That’s why vehicles like the BMW iX5 are about to emerge. Mercedes-Benz had the GLC F-Cell. The Stuttgart-based brand discontinued the SUV but did not give up on the technology – it’s now putting it in semis that are undergoing various testing procedures.

That being said, it’s important to remember that Japan and other Asian nations are experimenting with hydrogen as well. Toyota even has the Mirai that’s now on its second generation. Moreover, Australia is trying to involve itself in the battle for green hydrogen production and argues that it has “some of the best natural resources to produce” it.

Lastly, green hydrogen is important for automakers because it might be a solution to make zero-tailpipe emission vehicles that have gas tanks that need two to five minutes to fill up. Time spent recharging/filling up is incredibly important for both commercial customers and private individuals. Freighting is another important domain that could benefit a lot from decarbonizing through the usage of green hydrogen. But, for now, it’s a technology that needs perfecting and that’s why Rolls-Royce and Sowitec are joining forces.


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