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SINGAPORE: Rolls-Royce in Venture to Develop Fuel Cell-Based Power System

by Siti RahilKyodo News International
April 6th, 2005

Luxury car maker Rolls-Royce plc signed an agreement Wednesday with a Singapore consortium that includes several Singapore government-linked entities to jointly invest US$100 million in a new venture to develop a commercially viable power system based on fuel cell technology.

Under the agreement, Rolls-Royce will hold a 75 percent stake in Rolls-Royce Fuel Cell Systems Ltd., a company which it already formed in 2003 to develop solid oxide fuel cell, while the remaining stake will be held by Enertek Singapore Pte. Ltd., the Singapore consortium.

The Singapore consortium comprises EDB Investments, the investment subsidiary of the Economic Development Board, the state investment company Temasek Holdings, and Accuron Technologies, a precision engineering group based in Singapore.

A fuel cell manufacturing facility is expected to be established in Singapore in the next few years when the product is ready for commercialization.

Rolls-Royce is planning to use Singapore as its base to reach out to other markets in Asia.

"We see this as an iconic project for the development of the fuel cell industry in Singapore. One can liken it to a 'queen bee,' which will attract other companies to set up operations in Singapore and start a new fuel cell ecosystem here," Singapore Minister for Community Development, Youth and Sports, Vivian Balakrishnan said.

Fuel cell technology, which involves the generation of electricity by combining fuel and air in an electrochemical reaction, has the capability to generate power more efficiently than a conventional gas turbine, and is seen as more environmentally friendly.

Rolls-Royce began researching fuel cell technologies in 1992 and decided to pursue the commercialization of its expertise in 2002. The company is targeting to create a stationary power-generation system providing around 1 megawatt of electricity, for market delivery some time before the end of 2008.

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