Rolls-Royce is strengthening its business in power supply for safety-critical systems with the completion of the acquisition of Kinolt S.A., a Belgian-based specialist in dynamic uninterruptible power supply.
Uninterruptible power supply systems are used wherever stable electricity is required or a power failure would be extremely harmful, for example within data centres, hospitals or manufacturing facilities which operate sensitive processes. This acquisition is another important step on the strategic journey of Power Systems towards becoming a full-service provider of integrated solutions. Kinolt’s uninterruptible emergency power supply technology is particularly well suited to applications where space is at a premium, such as urban areas or installations in existing buildings, and complements our own MTU branded solutions for large scale and greenfield sites. As a result, the deal is expected to result in cost and revenue synergies and help support medium-term profitability and creation of long-term shareholder value in our back-up power generation business.
Andreas Schell, CEO of Rolls-Royce Power Systems, said: “The extraordinary times created by the Covid-19 pandemic have shown just how important it is to secure electricity supply to sensitive and critical infrastructure. The provision of uninterruptible power is vital in any situation and even more so today, as it ensures the provision of vital services such as medical care or the world’s continued flow of internet traffic. Without it, no public authority or company would be able to act in any crisis."
The demand for uninterruptible power solutions is expected to remain strong in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic. The acquisition of Kinolt will give Rolls-Royce a leading solution for businesses and local authorities who experienced issues with supply, or came close to doing so, and do not wish to run the risk again.
The Kinolt system is made up of a diesel engine that is coupled to a kinetic energy accu, via an electromagnetic clutch. The kinetic energy accu is the combination of a kinetic energy accu and a synchronous machine. Kinolt will become part of Rolls-Royce's Power Systems business unit and its MTU product and solutions brand.
“We originally signed the deal to acquire Kinolt before the full global impact of Covid-19 was apparent,” added Schell. “Since then we have rigorously examined the rationale for the transaction and the opportunities it presents to our business and concluded that the arguments in favour of the acquisition are even stronger than before.”
Power Generation is already the top-selling segment within the Power Systems business. In the future it is expected to be able to supply customers with all components and consequently a complete uninterrupted power generation system in the power range from 200 to 3,200 kVA. Kinolt's technology consists of a combination of rotating, kinetic mass storage devices, a diesel engine and a generator that can also be used as an electric motor. MTU engines from Rolls-Royce are often already used within Kinolt’s solutions. The Kinolt system is connected between the external power supply system and safety-critical equipment and supplies the latter with the required electrical power during normal operation. The grid frequency and voltage are generally more stable than the grid of public power suppliers. This is necessary because data servers, computer-controlled systems or sensitive devices such as those in hospitals can fail in the event of voltage and frequency fluctuations. In the case of a power failure, the flywheel mass accumulator ‘bridges’ the first few seconds before the diesel engine takes up the load.
"We will integrate the products and systems of our new subsidiary into our MTU product portfolio,” said Andreas Görtz, Vice President of Power Generation at Rolls-Royce. “Our worldwide sales and service network will open up new market opportunities for the new portfolio. This will significantly strengthen our market position in safety-critical applications."
Kinolt is based in the town of Grace-Hollogne in the Belgian province of Liège and was known as Euro-Diesel until mid-2019. The transaction was completed on 1 July 2020 following the approval of antitrust authorities.