Bosch invests 500 million to produce electrolysers on an industrial scale

Bosch announced on Friday that it would commission the first green hydrogen cycle at its Industry 4.0 plant in the German city of Homburg. The company has created a new business unit which will invest 500 million euros to develop components for electrolysers, with the aim of making activities related to this renewable gas ready for volume production, on an industrial scale.

“On the way to an emissions-neutral future, we must enable energy-intensive industries to switch to renewable energies. Hydrogen will be a key element,” says Rolf Najork, member of the Board of Management of Bosch. One of the first hydrogen projects from the new cell projects is the H2Giga. Funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, which will develop “powerful, durable and scalable electrolyzers”.

According to this official, Bosch can “offer the technology necessary for the use of hydrogen in various sectors”. The company is already developing mobile and stationary solutions, equipping hydrogen filling stations with compressors and also producing hydrogen in its own plants. In addition, Bosch plans to enter the electrolyser sector with force. In the future, Bosch wants to develop and manufacture its own components for electrolysers. These units use electricity to cause a chemical reaction that splits water into hydrogen and oxygen (electrolysis).

As long as the electricity comes from renewable sources, the end product is green hydrogen. By the end of the decade, Bosch plans to invest up to 500 million euros in the production and commercialization in volume of the central component of electrolysis: the hydrogen fuel cell. Bosch plans to launch its smart modules in 2025, with pilot plants to be equipped the following year. By developing this technology, the company aims to build partnerships across the entire hydrogen value chain to make production-ready components available as soon as possible.

“We take hydrogen production technologies out of the lab and put them into practice in an industrial setting – on the roads and in the factories,” says Najork. Through this newly created unit, Bosch is making its hydrogen expertise available to other companies. The projects will be presented for the first time at Hannover Messe, Germany, between May 30 and June 2.

In its factory in Homburg, Germany, Bosch is already showing what a hydrogen cycle could look like in a factory of the future: from renewable energies, an electrolyser produces green hydrogen; that the hydrogen will then be used for production and mobility operations, with fuel cell vehicles being powered with the hydrogen that Bosch technology has already compressed.

For industrial processes, a stationary fuel cell developed by Bosch converts hydrogen into heat and electricity. Energy flows in the plant are demand-controlled using Bosch Industry 4.0 software. This energy platform is already used in more than 120 units of the company. Production operations account for approximately 90% of Bosch’s global energy consumption. “We are continuously improving our carbon footprint. The Homburg plant plays a pioneering role in our global production network. We are systematically reducing our local energy consumption and producing this energy from renewable sources as much as possible. We must adjust these two variables.”, explains Najork.

Similarly, a solution developed by Bosch Rexroth and Maximator Hydrogen to compress hydrogen for filling stations, storage depots and pipelines will also be tested at the Homburg plant. By 2030, Bosch Rexroth and Maximator Hydrogen want to make this technology available to 4,000 hydrogen filling stations. One in three hydrogen filling stations worldwide would be equipped with Bosch components, the company predicts.

“Currently, the company’s portfolio includes units from 75 to 250 kilowatts, which offers service station operators a low-cost option to get started with hydrogen technology, as well as the ability to adapt solutions to their needs. Together with the alternatives available on the market, the new container-based compressors have the potential to cut operators’ total cost of ownership in half. Bosch and Maximator Hydrogen are thus contributing significantly to making the use of the economical green hydrogen – in light vehicles, utility vehicles, buses and trains,” the official said in a statement.

At the same time, at Power & Air Solutions, a subsidiary of Telekom, Bosch fuel cell technology is being used for the first time to power a data center. Together with Chinese construction company Weichai and its technology partner Ceres Power, Bosch plans to launch solid oxide fuel cells in the Chinese market. A total of more than 50 Bosch stationary fuel cells are now in service at company and customer facilities. Bosch plans to start production of stationary fuel cells in 2024. Production will take place at three Bosch sites in Germany: Bamberg, Homburg and Wernau.

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