Energy and Building Technology

Self-imposed commitment: cutting CO2 emissions 20 percent by 2020 How Bosch is reducing its carbon footprint Waste heat from machining saves oil and gas

  • Biomass boiler in Rodez
  • Cogeneration plant in Schwieberdingen
  • Sophisticated energy concept in Reutlingen
  • Purchasing department considers how energy-efficient machinery is
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  • October 30, 2014
  • Energy and Building Technology
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press release

        Sometimes, saving energy can be very simple: switching off lights and
        machines that are not needed has improved energy use at the Bosch plant
        in Schweinfurt alone by some 5 percent. And waste heat can also be used.

Stuttgart – Bosch has taken on a self-imposed commitment to save CO2. Relative to internally generated value added, emissions of this greenhouse gas are to be reduced by 20 percent by 2020. This company is already making good progress toward this target: in 2013, relative CO2 emissions were 16 percent lower than in 2007, the reference year. This progress has been made in part by employing new, energy-efficient technology.

Examples 1 to 3: Woodchips and cogeneration plant
At the Nuremberg plant, for instance, making use of the waste heat from the electrical machining has in large part replaced the need for gas and oil for heating purposes – saving 1,800 tons of CO2 emissions every year. One of the new technologies used at the Bosch plant in the southern French city of Rodez is an efficient woodchip-powered biomass boiler which reduces the plant's CO2 emissions by 600 tons annually. In Schwieberdingen near Stuttgart, the use of a cogeneration plant (CHP) has enabled the location to save 1,600 metric tons of CO2 each year.

Example 4: Use of waste heat in Reutlingen
Bosch has developed an especially sophisticated energy concept for its Reutlingen location south of Stuttgart. All the waste heat from production is exploited and water is recovered. In addition, the cooling-water and heating systems are interlinked. This reduces consumption of fossil fuels. Other aspects of the energy concept include a combined heat and power (CHP) plant, heat pumps, flue-gas heat exchangers, a solar heating system, and a photovoltaic array. Together with efficient manufacturing processes and modern plant engineering, the concept helps Bosch save around 10,000 metric tons of CO2 a year at the Reutlingen location. Rather than by burning fossil fuels, 90 percent of the modern wafer fab's heat requirement is met by way of waste-heat utilization, a renewable form of energy.

Example 5: The “CO2 networkers” from Schweinfurt
The Bosch Rexroth plant in Schweinfurt, Germany, has nearly achieved its goal of reducing CO2 emissions by 20 percent by the end of the decade. “The project is focused primarily on the efficient use of energy in production. To achieve this, we use a special system,” says Leo Pototzky. As the project director for energy efficiency and CO2 reduction, he is the driving force behind the project. He and his colleagues are not only installing the most efficient lighting and building insulation possible, but also looking at the energy consumption of all their machinery and plant.

And the necessary expertise is coming from within their own ranks. Bosch Rexroth makes drive and control technology for the mechanical engineering and process plant engineering industries. In other words, it knows precisely how individual components interact. The experts question whether all components in a system need to be used at all times or whether individual parts can be shut off. They may discover that a system can function perfectly well with a machine with a lower delivery rate or less powerful drive motors. This saves hardware, lowers energy consumption, and thus reduces greenhouse gas emissions. And not least, money can be saved.

Pototzky and his team have already analyzed more than 150 different types of machines and built up an enormous wealth of knowledge. They have become “CO2 networkers,” making their extensive experience available to numerous plants within the Bosch Group. After they have taken stock of the situation, they ask a number of core questions. Which actions are appropriate? Which ones will have a lasting effect? And last but not least, which are also financially viable? After all, even a major target such as reducing CO2 needs a realistic financial framework.

One good example of this is the retrofitting of large grinders. In Schweinfurt, these grinders are used to file down steel profile rails to one-hundredth of a millimeter. To counteract the resulting frictional heat, high-pressure jets spray coolant on the grinding disks and metal rail. For example, the jets have been redesigned to make more efficient use of the coolant. This ultimately saves so much coolant that, despite higher production volumes, there is no need for a larger coolant tank and a substantially lower delivery rate is required. In addition, there is less splashing of the coolant, which used to create a fine mist in the grinding shop.

The workforce is also playing a part in making the project a success. Energy requirements in Schweinfurt can be reduced by around 5 percent by making sure lights and machines are switched off when not in use. In total, the measures have reduced CO2 emissions at Schweinfurt by nearly 2,500 metric tons per year. This means Pototzky and his colleagues are 80 percent of the way toward achieving the goal they set.

Example 6: Energy-efficiency wiki
One of the ways information about especially successful concepts is made available is through a Bosch-wide energy-efficiency wiki. For each project and each idea that is put into practice, there is a fact sheet with the key data. Especially good examples are presented at coordinators' meetings. Later, Bosch's purchasing department ensures that any new machinery to be acquired satisfies the more exacting energy standards. “We are confident we can achieve our CO2 target,” says Dr. Ralph-Peter Mechnik, who coordinates the worldwide activities of the Bosch associates entrusted with improving energy efficiency.

Example 7: the “eta” model factory
Elsewhere as well, Bosch is working on the energy-saving factory of the future – for example, as an industrial and research partner on the “eta factory” project. The name refers to a publicly funded project of the Technical University of Darmstadt, named “Energy-efficient factory for interdisciplinary technology and application research.” The objective of the project is to reduce energy consumption in industrial production. The project members believe that the energy-saving potential is as high as 40 percent. To demonstrate this, a model factory will be set up for research purposes on the university campus. All its systems, such as the building, technical infrastructure, and machinery and equipment, will be included in the plan and their energy requirements interconnected.

Example 8: painting shop saves 75 percent energy
At its plant in Mellansel, Sweden, Bosch Rexroth manufactures heavy-duty engines for ships, for mining, and for recycling plants. Engines that will subsequently come into contact with salt water are coated with several layers of corrosion-proofing. This is done in a painting shop on site. Now that this has been modernized, it uses three-quarters less energy than before. Among other things, this is due to energy recovery using heat pumps. In addition, the paint shop now uses smaller drying booths where the old shop used a drying tunnel.

Sustainability in the Bosch Group:
More information about the eta factory:

The Bosch Group is a leading global supplier of technology and services. It employs roughly 375,000 associates worldwide (as of December 31, 2015). The company generated sales of 70.6 billion euros in 2015. Its operations are divided into four business sectors: Mobility Solutions, Industrial Technology, Consumer Goods, and Energy and Building Technology. The Bosch Group comprises Robert Bosch GmbH and its roughly 440 subsidiaries and regional companies in some 60 countries. Including sales and service partners, Bosch’s global manufacturing and sales network covers some 150 countries. The basis for the company’s future growth is its innovative strength. Bosch employs 55,800 associates in research and development at 118 locations across the globe. The Bosch Group’s strategic objective is to deliver innovations for a connected life. Bosch improves quality of life worldwide with products and services that are innovative and spark enthusiasm. In short, Bosch creates technology that is “Invented for life.”

The company was set up in Stuttgart in 1886 by Robert Bosch (1861-1942) as “Workshop for Precision Mechanics and Electrical Engineering.” The special ownership structure of Robert Bosch GmbH guarantees the entrepreneurial freedom of the Bosch Group, making it possible for the company to plan over the long term and to undertake significant up-front investments in the safeguarding of its future. Ninety-two percent of the share capital of Robert Bosch GmbH is held by Robert Bosch Stiftung GmbH, a charitable foundation. The majority of voting rights are held by Robert Bosch Industrietreuhand KG, an industrial trust. The entrepreneurial ownership functions are carried out by the trust. The remaining shares are held by the Bosch family and by Robert Bosch GmbH.

Additional information is available online at and,

PI8595 - October 30, 2014

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