Promoting the move toward alternative forms of energy
Turnkey solution based on lithium-ion technology
A constant supply of renewable energy: while others are still heatedly debating about the move to alternative forms of energy, a housing complex near Frankfurt is setting new standards. As much as possible, the complex is designed to be self-sufficient in its energy needs. Not only that: it also saves its residents money in the process.
Stuttgart and Kelsterbach – The move toward alternative forms of energy is taking shape in Kelsterbach, a town close to Frankfurt, Germany. Bosch is supplying a flexible energy storage system for a housing complex that is currently under construction there, which comprises 180 townhouses. The system has an installed capacity of 135 kilowatt-hours. “On paper, this is the equivalent of the daily power requirements of ten average four-person households,” says the Bosch project manager Wolfgang Mollenkopf. The customer is Süwag Erneuerbare Energien GmbH, which is promoting the move toward alternative forms of energy with a concept of its own. The start of operation is planned for the middle of May.
Contribution to a decentralized power supply The energy storage system meets one of the greatest challenges of decentralized power supplies. The housing complex's combined heat and power unit and solar power station do not always generate power when it is needed. Thanks to the battery, the extra power can be stored and made available later on. “We are pleased that our technology is helping Süwag implement its pioneering concept,” says Cordelia Thielitz, who is in charge of stationary energy storage systems at Bosch.
The highest possible level of self-sufficiency “Enka,” as the new housing complex is called, is being built on the site of a former factory. The construction company Deutsche Reihenhaus AG is building 180 townhouses there. A mixed-use development and a business park will be built in a second phase of construction. When completed, the neighborhood should be able to meet a large share of its own energy needs, since it will be equipped with two combined heat and power units in addition to peak load boilers, solar power, heat storage, and electricity storage systems. The system will use the power generated in the complex in the best way possible. The efficient combined heat and power unit will meet the base load. A natural gas-powered internal combustion engine in the unit will generate electricity with the help of a generator. The heat generated in the engine as a result of combustion will be used to heat buildings or water.
Since less power is consumed at night, the large Bosch battery stores energy and releases it whenever it is needed, for instance in the morning. “It's a similar picture with solar energy,” says Cordelia Thielitz. “The sun shines and delivers a lot of energy during the day, when families aren't generally at home. The battery stores the energy until it is needed in the evening.” In terms of its power supply, Süwag aims to make the complex as self-sufficient as possible. “Every kilowatt hour that doesn't need to travel great distances reduces the need to invest in and expand the grid. It also makes integrating renewable sources of energy into the wider system easier,” the company says.
Consumers within the residential complex are directly connected to the power generation system. As a result, there are no transmission charges or similar costs. And for residents, electricity rates are significantly cheaper than usual. The Frankfurt University of Applied Sciences is providing the project with scientific support.
Turnkey energy storage systems The Bosch turnkey energy storage system makes use of lithium-ion technology. The storage unit is some seven meters wide, about 60 centimeters deep, and 1.8 meters high. It is located in a machine room on site. Its capacity and electronics are precisely aligned to the needs of the complex's power grid.
The storage system has an output of 50 kilowatts and can be charged or discharged within two hours. Thanks to its inverter, power can be fed into and drawn from the customer network. The right battery system management and Bosch experience in the area of battery charging and discharging increase battery life. Bosch plans, engineers, and builds a range of storage systems, up to megawatt-hour capacity. In this way, Bosch makes an important contribution to sustainable power supplies, true to the company's strategic imperative “Invented for life.”
Background: energy storage systems Energy storage systems are a key element in the move toward alternative forms of energy. They make it possible to better utilize wind and solar power, whose availability can fluctuate widely. Solar power can be made available at night, and wind power can be stored for times when winds slacken. A Bosch-commissioned study published by Öko-Institut e.V. in Freiburg rightly describes energy storage as a strategically important field of technology. Such systems will play a decisive role in the development of a decentralized power-supply infrastructure.
First and foremost, they can compensate for fluctuations in power generated from the wind and the sun. At the same time, they can act as a buffer for use in the event of unforeseen fluctuations. As a result, energy storage systems make it easier to integrate renewable sources of energy into existing power networks. This makes them an important part of smart grids, as well as an alternative to network expansion. Moreover, they help harmonize power supply and demand.
Background: combined heat and power units Combined heat and power (CHP) units generate electricity and heat with either fossil fuels or renewable sources of energy. CHP uses the same amount of energy to generate twice the benefit. With conventional technologies, heat and power are generally generated separately. CHP combines the two, thus reducing the need for fuel. In a study written for the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, the government energy agency EnergieAgentur.NRW writes: “Its application offers enormous potential for protecting the climate and conserving resources.” If a CHP unit is needed to generate heat on a cold winter's night, for instance, the power generated at the same time can be stored in the battery until the next morning.
Growing demand for locally produced automotive technology
Stuttgart/Samara – The Bosch Group has laid the foundation stone for its new plant in Russia: from 2015, Bosch automotive technology will also be rolling off the assembly line in Samara. The site itself covers a total surface area of some 200,000 square meters, the equivalent of about 29 soccer fields. The buildings will offer some 22,000 square meters of floor space and will be used for manufacturing, administration, and logistics. They will also house the site's power and media supply as well as a cafeteria. By the end of 2016, the global supplier of technology and services will have invested some 50 million euros in Samara. When work is completed, some 500 associates will be working there.
As a result of low vehicle density and vehicle age – almost every second car in Russia is older than ten years – Bosch expects the country's annual vehicle production to grow continuously, from almost two million today to some three million in 2020. "The new manufacturing site in Samara is the next step in our long-term strategy. We aim to expand our presence in this region and seize the opportunities that the market offers," says Gerhard Pfeifer, president of the Bosch Group in Russia and CIS, at the official laying of the foundation stone. "This investment reflects our positive expectations of the Russian market."
Nikolai Merkushkin, the governor of the Samara region, is also pleased about the Bosch Group's investment. "The commitment of a major global player like Bosch is significant for the Samara region's economic and social development. The location is becoming more attractive for investors and local specialists alike," Merkushkin said.
Production for local customers Until now, the Chassis Systems Control, Starter Motors and Generators, and Diesel Systems divisions have been present in Samara. In the future, the Electric Drives division will also have a home here. With the new plant, Bosch aims to manufacture automotive technologies primarily for local customers. These will include, for instance, anti-lock braking systems, starters and generators, common rail injectors for commercial vehicles, and windshield wiper systems. "By adding another local production site, we will be closer to our customers and will thus be better able to respond to their needs," said the Bosch representative Gerhard Pfeifer. "The location in the European part of Russia is perfectly suited to this aim, not least because of the region's highly-qualified specialist workforce and excellent infrastructure."
Presence in Russia The Bosch Thermotechnology division is currently building a new manufacturing site at its Engels location. From the summer of 2014, Bosch and Buderus wall-hung boilers and industrial-scale boilers will be produced there. Bosch's Automotive Aftermarket, Gasoline Systems, Diesel Systems, and Power Tools divisions already have a presence in Engels. After Engels, Samara will be the second Bosch plant to manufacture automotive technology in Russia. In addition to this, Bosch is investing more than 100 million euros in its new Russian headquarters in Moscow, which will have a total floor space of 57,000 square meters. The official opening of the new headquarters is scheduled for the second half of 2014.
Bosch has been present in Russia since 1904. The country was one of the first outside Germany in which a sales organization was established. The Bosch Group locations in Engels, Togliatti, and St. Petersburg manufacture automotive equipment, power tools, packaging technology, and household appliances. Once thermotechnology production begins, all four Bosch business sectors – Automotive Technology, Industrial Technology, Consumer Goods, and Energy and Building Technology – will have a presence in Russia. With its more than 3,000 local associates, the company generated sales of about one billion euros in Russia in 2012.
Buildings and industrial facilities offer major potential for energy savings
Bosch moving closer to efficiency targets at its own locations
Environmental protection requires more and better technology
"The aim of energy efficiency must be pursued here and now with the policy instruments already available," said Franz Fehrenbach, the Chairman of the Bosch Supervisory Board, during his talk at the Sustainability Conference organized by “Die ZEIT,” the German weekly. Fehrenbach bemoaned that commitment to energy efficiency had abated at all levels. The European Union, for instance, is not likely to meet its 2020 target of increasing energy efficiency by 20 percent. In Germany, tax incentives for improving buildings’ energy efficiency were ditched in the new government's coalition agreement. According to Fehrenbach, there are many long-term goals for the move toward alternative forms of energy. However, “if we keep waiting, we will not achieve any of them,” he said. “When it comes to alternative forms of energy, Germany must get moving once and for all.”
Energy management alone can cut consumption by 20 percent Fehrenbach warned that this move is at risk of turning into empty rhetoric. While the entire political spectrum is in favor of alternative forms of energy, energy prices continue to rise and the brown-coal economy, which is hardly eco-friendly, persists. The fastest way to act, in Fehrenbach’s view, is by improving energy efficiency; doing so does not even require a solution to the conflict on new power grids and the allocation of the cost of renewables. The modernization of old heating systems would already enable significant energy savings. “Houses,” said Fehrenbach, “are the number one consumers of energy.”
The Chairman of the Bosch Supervisory Board also noted the significant potential for energy savings in industry. However, to reduce the energy consumption of large and complex facilities, systematic energy management is required. Bosch can offer the services needed for this, both in capital goods and commercial buildings. Improved energy management alone can reduce their energy consumption by an average of 20 percent.
Bosch grows with less energy and lower CO2 emissions Fehrenbach emphasized that Bosch’s protestations of sustainability will only be taken seriously if resource conservation starts with its own production activities. By 2020, the Bosch Board of Management aims to reduce carbon dioxide emissions at its locations around the world by at least 20 percent over 2007 levels. According to Fehrenbach, as early as 2012 the company has already achieved a relative reduction of 13 percent. In absolute terms, the company’s CO2 emissions have decreased five percent within five years. During this time, Bosch sales have increased 13 percent, while the company's global energy needs have decreased by 7.7 percent.
More growth, lower energy consumption – in Fehrenbach’s view, this can only be achieved with modern technology. For this reason, the Chairman of the Bosch Supervisory Board is critical of anti-growth and anti-technology attitudes, which remain widespread. “Our engineers work hard for every percentage point of fuel and energy savings, for every gram of carbon dioxide that can be reduced,” said Fehrenbach, who argued that protecting the environment calls for more and better technology. This is a central tenet of the way Bosch sees itself, he said: “Especially because we don’t want to compromise our standard of living, we strive to come up with eco-friendly innovations.”
Dr. Volkmar Denner: “We aim for giant leap forward in the development of battery technology.”
Lithium Energy and Power GmbH & Co. KG joint venture starts operations in 2014
Doubling of energy density is basis of the 2020 mass market
Stuttgart / Kyoto / Tokyo – Robert Bosch GmbH and the Japanese companies GS Yuasa International Ltd., based in Kyoto, and Mitsubishi Corporation, based in Tokyo, have set up a joint venture. Known as Lithium Energy and Power GmbH & Co. KG, the new company will be headquartered in Stuttgart. It will develop next-generation lithium-ion battery technology. This next generation is needed in order to make the electric vehicle a successful mass product in the next decade. “In setting up this joint venture, we want to achieve nothing less than a giant leap forward in the development of battery technology. Our aim is to make lithium-ion batteries twice as efficient,” says Dr. Volkmar Denner, who, as chairman of the board of management of Robert Bosch GmbH, is responsible for research and development.
For electric vehicles, more efficient batteries will mean greater range. For consumers, the car will also be more affordable, since the rechargeable batteries can be smaller. Robert Bosch GmbH and its partners are confident that electromobility will become a mass market from 2020 onward. Electromobility is an important step toward making mobility climate-friendly and sustainable.
The joint venture Lithium Energy and Power GmbH & Co. KG was set up in November 2013. Bosch holds a 50 percent stake with GS Yuasa International Ltd. and Mitsubishi Corporation each holding 25 percent. The composition of the board of management reflects these shareholdings. Its members are Dr. Rolf Speicher from Robert Bosch GmbH, Toshio Ohara from GS Yuasa International Ltd., and Yutaka Kashiwagi from Mitsubishi Corporation. They will initially head up a team of some 70 associates in Germany and Japan.
Battery-pack know-how meets battery-cell competence Bosch will support these joint activities with its entire portfolio of components for electromobility. With its competence in the area of battery packs and battery management systems, Bosch specializes in the monitoring and control of cells and complete systems, as well as in integrating them into vehicles. In addition, it will contribute its know-how in production processes and quality management relating to the large-scale series production of complex products.
GS Yuasa will contribute its many years of experience in manufacturing lithium-ion battery cells whose high density makes for a longer range, as well as its expertise in materials systems and electrochemistry. As an established manufacturer of automotive and non-automotive lithium-ion battery cells, GS Yuasa has a strong engineering team and modern production lines with a high level of automation.
Mitsubishi Corporation will contribute its global sales network and experience as an integrated global business enterprise. In addition, Mitsubishi will use its strengths in the establishment of global value-added chains – which include raw materials, semi-finished products, and marketing – to take the joint venture forward.