CO₂ Advisory Service: Bosch Assists Manufacturing Companies as they Work Toward Climate Neutrality
Bosch is providing an advisory service for companies to help them become climate neutral. To this end, it established the Bosch Climate Solutions subsidiary in mid-2020. The supplier of technology and services wants to pass on the knowledge and experience it has gained from achieving carbon neutrality and from the projects it has implemented worldwide. This service is in demand in the manufacturing industry: in a recent survey of German companies, 77 percent named CO2 reduction as a priority, but only 16 percent have implemented measures to achieve climate neutrality in their manufacturing operations (source: Boston Consulting Group).
Bosch will be the first globally operating industrial enterprise to become fully climate neutral by the end of 2020. More than 400 locations worldwide will then no longer leave a carbon footprint. Moreover, all Bosch locations in Germany have been climate neutral since the end of 2019. “Mitigating climate change is a challenge for society as a whole. We want to make climate action technically feasible and commercially viable,” says Dr. Volkmar Denner, chairman of the board of management of Robert Bosch GmbH. To this end, Bosch applies a variety of levers — including improving the energy efficiency of its plants and buildings, generating power in-house, and implementing technological solutions that make production resource-efficient. For Denner, the road ahead is clear: “If you want your business to be successful, your operations must be sustainable.“
“Mitigating climate change is a challenge for society as a whole. We want to make climate action technically feasible and commercially viable.” — says Dr. Volkmar Denner, chairman of the board of management of Robert Bosch GmbH
Bosch draws up customized CO2 reduction concept for companies
Climate change is the biggest challenge facing humanity. Only to the energy sector emits more than the manufacturing industry. In Germany alone, the industry sector accounts for more than one-fifth of total carbon dioxide emissions. Bosch is hard at work on the associated challenges. Based on its own experience, Bosch Climate Solutions provides assistance to other companies as they work toward making their development, manufacturing, and business activities resource efficient and climate neutral. Lessons learned from more than 1,000 energy-efficiency projects and a virtual team of more than 1,000 Bosch experts form the basis of this. “Bosch Climate Solutions is using its broad industrial knowledge to support other companies as they progress toward climate neutrality. We are a multiplier of climate action beyond our own factory gates,” says Dr. Christian Fischer, the Bosch management board member responsible for the Energy and Building Technology business sector, of which the new advisory unit is a part.
Within a period of four weeks, the experts carry out a CO2 audit and present an initial master plan. The detailed CO2 reduction concept is completed in less than three months. The advice Bosch gives is based on the same kind of integrated approach it used to achieve climate neutrality. Such an approach includes measures to increase energy efficiency, expand the supply of renewable energy, procure more green electricity, and offset unavoidable CO2 emissions. “Bosch advises on planning, selecting, and implementing suitable solutions, always taking ecological as well as economic perspectives into account. The demand is there, and we are seeing a great deal of interest,” says Donya-Florence Amer, the CEO of Bosch Climate Solutions. The subsidiary has already acquired its first customers and successfully completed some initial projects.
For example, it helped the technology company Prettl develop a customized concept to reduce CO2. “A scenario analysis revealed where we had technological and economic room to maneuver, and allowed us to define our own path toward reducing CO2,” says Willi Prettl, parter of the Prettl Group.
Rethinking social conventions: less is more
“Putting an end to climate change involves rethinking basic principles. Less is often more. We’re making rapid progress here at Bosch,” Denner says. By 2030, Bosch plans to save an additional 1.7 terawatt hours per year. This is more than one-fifth of its current annual consumption. To achieve this, the company will invest around one billion euros in the energy efficiency of its buildings and plants over the next ten years. In 2019 alone, Bosch launched over 1,000 projects worldwide to achieve savings of some 210,000 megawatt hours. That amounts to the annual electricity consumption of 65,000 German households.
“Bosch advises on planning, selecting, and implementing suitable solutions, always taking ecological as well as economic perspectives into account. The demand is there, and we are seeing a great deal of interest.” — says Donya-Florence Amer, the CEO of Bosch Climate Solutions.
Reducing energy consumption by means of efficiency and intelligence
Connected manufacturing plays a key role in improving energy efficiency. In over 100 plants and locations worldwide, Bosch is already utilizing an energy platform that is part of its own Industry 4.0 portfolio. Intelligent algorithms help predict energy consumption, avoid peak loads, and detect and correct deviations in machines’ typical patterns of consumption. This helps further reduce carbon dioxide emissions in factories; for example, Bosch’s lead plant for Industry 4.0 in Homburg, Germany, cut its emissions by some 10 percent within two years. To ensure transparency, machinery must be compatible with Industry 4.0. However, many machines are still stuck in the pre-digital past. “The goal must be to make Industry 4.0 more widely available to unleash its full potential. Connectivity is not an end in itself, but the gateway to efficient, resource-conserving, and eco-friendly manufacturing,” says Rolf Najork, the member of the Bosch board of management responsible for industrial technology. Retrofitting can help bring systems in line with the state of the art. Bosch retrofits machinery with modern communication interfaces and sensor technology, and connects them to Bosch Rexroth’s IoT Gateway software. Access to data such as temperature, pressure, and compressed-air consumption enables operators to identify and eliminate weak points and reduce energy consumption.
New technologies for conserving resources in manufacturing
Bosch considers energy efficiency to be a decisive criterion in the development of machines and systems. Take Bosch Rexroth’s CytroBox, for example. This connected hydraulic power unit comes into its own in use cases that demand robustness and the application of large amounts of pressure, for example when forming sheet metal. Preset controllers in the variable-speed pump drives adapt the energy consumption of the CytroBox to the requirements at the given time. This means speed is reduced to save energy at zero or partial loads and increased at full loads. Compared to power units with non-variable drives, such flexibility reduces energy consumption by up to 80 percent. New approaches to control technology also play a role in making manufacturing resource efficient. Bosch Rexroth’s ctrlX Automation platform is the key to more compact machines and systems with less hardware. “Our new control technology is revolutionary. Combining our hardware and software expertise, we’re launching a type of smartphone for manufacturing operations that is intuitive and flexible to use,” Najork says. ctrlX Automation reduces the volume of all automation components by up to 50 percent on average and the weight of the drives by up to a third. The lighter the hardware, the less drive power is required and the less energy the system consumes. Bosch also offers solutions for using climate-neutral fuels in industrial processes, such as for generating steam or process heat. Virtually all Bosch Thermotechnology industrial boilers can be retrofitted to run on hydrogen, green fuels, or for hybrid operation with renewable electricity. If required, Bosch can supply new, hydrogen-ready boilers.