Bosch to develop components for hydrogen electrolysis

New area of business: Bosch to develop components for hydrogen electrolysis

When it comes to green hydrogen, Bosch is stepping on the gas: in the interest of effective climate action, the company is planning not only to use this new fuel, but also to be one of the companies producing it.

“We cannot afford to delay climate action any longer, so we aim to use Bosch technology to support the rapid expansion of hydrogen production in Europe.”

Dr. Stefan Hartung

Dr. Stefan Hartung

Chairman of the board of management of Robert Bosch GmbH

This is why Bosch is branching out into the development of components for electrolyzers, which use electrolysis to split water into hydrogen and oxygen. Ideally, the electricity for this purpose is generated from renewable sources such as wind or photovoltaic power, in which case the result is known as “green hydrogen”.

“We cannot afford to delay climate action any longer, so we aim to use Bosch technology to support the rapid expansion of hydrogen production in Europe,” said Dr. Stefan Hartung, chairman of the board of management of Robert Bosch GmbH, at the presentation of the company’s annual figures . “To do this, we will leverage our know-how in fuel-cell technology,” added Dr. Markus Heyn, member of the board of management of Bosch and chairman of the Mobility Solutions business sector.

Drawing on this expertise, Bosch will assign the development of electrolyzer components to the Mobility Solutions business sector, investing up to 500 million euros in this venture by the end of the decade.

Experts

In light of energy diversification, the move away from fossil fuels, and the need to reduce CO2 emissions, demand for green hydrogen is growing rapidly – not only in energy-intensive industries such as steel, chemicals, and heavy-duty freight, but also in private real estate.

According to the EU, demand is set to rise to some ten million metric tons a year by 2030. Bosch forecasts that the global market for electrolyzer components will increase to a volume of around 14 billion euros over the same period, with Europe set to see the highest rates of growth. To help business and society reduce dependency on fossil fuels and harness new forms of energy, Bosch intends to invest some three billion euros in climate-neutral technology, such as electrification and hydrogen, over the next three years.

Bosch can use its strengths in mass production and economies of scale

Safety

The use of gaseous hydrogen in vehicles is safe and no more hazardous than other automotive fuels or batteries. Hydrogen tanks do not pose an increased risk of explosion.

Unlike many of the electrolyzer components currently on the market, the Bosch smart modules will be mass produced. As such, the manufacturing operation will generate economies of scale. “Two key factors are involved in ramping up hydrogen production: speed and cost,” Heyn said. “This is where we can play to our strengths, thanks to our expertise in mass production and our automotive know-how.” Bosch is now planning to start volume production as quickly as possible at a number of European locations. These include Bamberg and Feuerbach (Germany), Tilburg (Netherlands), Linz (Austria), and České Budějovice (Czech Republic).

Bosch portfolio expansion will safeguard jobs

Bosch is branching out

Bosch is branching out into the development of components for electrolyzers, which use electrolysis to split water into hydrogen and oxygen.

The ongoing transformation of the automotive sector presents a huge challenge for the industry as a whole. As ever, Bosch’s response here is to innovate. In entering a new field of business – one that will add a nonautomotive wing to its mobility solutions business – the company is seizing the opportunity to further safeguard employment. In the coming years, this expansion into electrolyzer components is expected to create work for hundreds of associates. “In fact, we’re doing three things at once,” Heyn said. “We’re making an important contribution ecologically, economically, and socially.”

Bosch is working on mobile and stationary fuel cells

Fuel cell stack

The mobile fuel cell stack consists of a stack containing up to several hundred fuel cells; it forms the core of the fuel cell system.

Bosch firmly believes in hydrogen as a future fuel, and is also working on both stationary and mobile fuel cells. One intended use for the former is as small, on-site power plants for cities, data centers, shopping malls, business parks, and as charge spots for electric vehicles. Bosch plans to use mobile fuel cells to facilitate the climate-neutral shipping of goods and commodities, initially by truck. The company’s portfolio of vehicle-related products in this field ranges from individual sensors to core components such as the electric air compressor, the stack, and complete fuel-cell modules. Production is expected to start this year.

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