Engine builder MTU’s parent company, Rolls-Royce Power Systems, recently completed construction of a new, €40 million ($44.7 million) engine test facility at Friedrichshafen, Germany, designed to support development of next-generation combustion engines.
“This move is making space for new developments in every sense of the word,” said Dr. Ulrich Dohle, CEO of Rolls-Royce Power Systems, at the opening ceremony. “Technology on the combustion engine of the future is going to be even more complex than that of its predecessors, so we have to make absolutely sure that we have the capacity to carry out tests and trials on our new products reliably and intensively.”
The company said it will use the new facility to test developments on existing engine series as well as to explore new technologies: combustion processes, advanced technologies for electronic regulation and control, and, from mid-2016, alternative fuels will be put under scrutiny at the test facility.
MTU said high-tech test stands are a prerequisite for tomorrow’s cutting-edge technologies. Within the new facility, chilling machines, heat exchangers, steam generators and various fuel formulations allow a whole spectrum of engine operation scenarios to be simulated—from biting cold to tropical humidity. State-of-the-art measuring and analysis systems support test stand technicians and development engineers by enabling them to monitor results, then replicate and document them precisely. In addition to conventional dynamometers, electrical gensets will also be used to simulate rapid load changes. The electrical power they deliver will also be fed into the factory’s own power grid.
Construction of the five-story, 9,000-m3 building that houses the test stands began in 2013. Three test stands for testing 2,500-kW engines were set up in the first phase. Further test stands can also be installed according to requirements, and construction is under way for a supply network for gas engine research that will go into service in mid-2016.