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Bosch is participating in a joint research project undertaken by the German automotive industry with the aim of reducing fuel consumption
The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) has joined forces with the automotive industry in Germany to launch a new research project. Together, eleven industry partners plan to spend the next two years researching innovative technologies and concepts for cutting fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. This Automotive Electronics innovation alliance has given rise to a project known as “Energy-efficient driving 2014” (EFA 2014). Its objective is to cut fuel consumption by up to ten percent. Supported by the BMBF as part of the German government's high-tech strategy, the initiative aims to play its part in achieving the EU goal of cutting CO2 by 20 percent by the year 2020.
Over the next two years, the project will take a two-pronged approach to researching innovative solutions for energy-efficient driving. Firstly, vehicles are to become more intelligent. By applying knowledge of the routes to be taken, for example, it will be possible to develop predictive operating strategies for saving energy. Data from navigation, radar, and camera systems provide an opportunity to anticipate driving situations that involve higher energy requirements or an excess of energy. In turn, this allows enough time to initiate a response from the vehicle or driver. Secondly, vehicle electrical systems and associated components will be specially tailored to the potential offered by the intelligent operating strategies. For example, the architecture of the electrical system will be redesigned to ensure optimum recovery of braking energy. The expected results of the project will also prove important for future generations of electric vehicles, as their energy management systems stand to benefit greatly from predictive operating strategies.
Taking recommended routes can also contribute to more energy-efficient and consumption-optimized driving. In summer 2010, a navigation system newly developed by Bosch will be ready for series production, and integrated into a range of vehicles. While conventional systems look for either the fastest or the shortest route from A to B, consumption-optimized versions have, until now, worked by identifying the statistical average between the fastest and shortest journeys. In contrast, the new route planner takes into account key ecological and economic factors, such as the terrain, class of road, any built-up areas on the route, and the number of junctions. The navigation algorithms also factor in vehicle- and driver-specific parameters, such as engine, air resistance, and the level of care and awareness shown by the driver. As extensive field tests carried out by Bosch have shown, the new ECO2 navigation system cuts fuel consumption by an average of nine percent – and the journey takes just nine percent longer than if the driver opts for the fastest route.
Representatives from the worlds of politics, business, and research used the “Sustainability get-together” by econsense and Robert Bosch GmbH to discuss climate protection in buildings
Representatives from the worlds of politics, business, and research used the “Sustainability get-together” by econsense and Robert Bosch GmbH to discuss climate protection in buildings.
Politicians, scientists, and some 50 other guests joined econsense and Robert Bosch GmbH at the latter's Berlin office to discuss how decentralized domestic energy supply can help cut CO2 emissions. Uwe Glock, chairman of the board of management of Bosch Thermotechnik GmbH, highlighted significant potential for savings in residential buildings that can be unlocked cost-effectively and using existing technology.
Energy consumption in buildings is currently responsible for around 40 percent of CO2 emissions worldwide. In Germany, more than 40 percent of primary energy consumption is accounted for by buildings, 85 percent of this being used to heat rooms and hot water. “Old and inefficient equipment is still used for this purpose in most buildings and should be replaced as quickly as possible by the efficient technology now available,” says Glock.
The products offered by the Bosch Thermotechnology division for efficient domestic energy supply can play a major role in achieving climate targets. Examples include solar thermal collectors combined with condensing boilers and cogeneration equipment. According to calculations by Bosch, using efficient technology to heat rooms and hot water could reduce annual CO2 emissions by some 55 million metric tons in Germany alone.
The Bosch Thermotechnology division achieved significant growth in sales of solar thermal systems in 2009. Business involving renewable energies accounted for 15 percent of total sales. In the years ahead, the division is looking to systematically expand activities with systems for using renewable energies and energy-efficient solutions.
Having been awarded the third Robert Bosch Junior Professorship, Dr. Regina Palkovits intends to establish a research group to study the efficient use of biomass
New developments at Robert Bosch Stiftung
Following on from Dr. Nina Farwig (2008) and Dr. Asia Khamzina (2009), Dr. Palkovits was awarded this year's Robert Bosch Junior Professorship by Dr. Kurt Liedtke, chairman of the board of trustees of the Robert Bosch Stiftung, and Prof. Klaus Töpfer, chairman of the selection committee, for the sustainable use of natural resources. In a research group at RWTH Aachen University (Germany), Dr. Palkovits is examining how biomass can be used in the long term to produce plastics or fuel, for example.
On the occasion of the Junior Professorship award ceremony at Robert Bosch's former residence, Dr. Palkovits talked with Dr. Christine Kolmar, executive board member at WWF Deutschland, and Dr. Torsten Henzelmann, greentech expert and partner at Roland Berger Strategy Consultants, about ways of developing the raw materials of the future. Dr. Palkovits, born in 1980, studied chemical engineering at TU Dortmund University and gained her doctorate at the Max-Planck-Institut für Kohlenforschung (Max Planck Institute for Coal Research). She is also an ambassador for Science Year 2010 with the motto “The Future of Energy,” an initiative launched by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research.
In view of the increasing scarcity of raw materials and the move towards climate protection, generating energy from plants is seen as a very innovative and promising approach. If scientists succeed in future in splitting the cellulose in plant cells into tiny parts much more efficiently than has so far been possible, this would open up many new areas of application. It could be used, for example, as a renewable raw material for the production of chemicals and fuels. Using the research results from the working group for the efficient use of biomass, Dr. Palkovits also wants to help developing countries and emerging markets position themselves as “energy suppliers of the future.
The topic's relevance to today's society, the innovative research approach, and Dr. Palkovits' previous achievements all combined to win over the selection committee chaired by Professor Klaus Töpfer. In his speech, the former executive director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) underlined the close links between the fundamental convictions of Robert Bosch and the goals pursued by the program of the Junior Professorship “Sustainable Use of Natural Resources.” The Robert Bosch Stiftung sets aside up to 1 million euros for a period of five years for junior professorships in order to fund independent research at a German university or a chosen research institute. The deadline has just closed for entries for the next Robert Bosch Junior Professorship, which will be awarded in 2011.
Bosch's program for remanufacturing vehicle parts is cutting CO2 emissions worldwide by 23,000 tons
More and more workshops are opting for remanufactured Bosch products to enable repairs at a cost commensurate with a vehicle's current value. This remanufacturing process is now applied to around 9,000 vehicle parts from 27 product groups. Bosch is a leading supplier of industrially remanufactured products such as starters, alternators, air-conditioning compressors, brake calipers, ignition distributors, diesel injection pumps, and many other components. This process of remanufacturing vehicle parts is not just a cheaper alternative for end customers – it also protects the environment by reusing much of the original product. Consequently, this system cuts down on the use of raw materials and produces fewer CO2 emissions than the production of new parts.
When repairing a vehicle, the workshop can replace a faulty part with either a new or remanufactured part. For end customers, the remanufactured part is between 30 and 40 percent cheaper than a new one. Bosch places the same high quality standards on remanufacturing as it does on the production of new products, which is why the company gives the same two-year guarantee on remanufactured parts. Today, the possibility of later remanufacturing is taken into account during the development of original components. Not only are these remanufactured parts kind on the wallet, they also help protect the environment and conserve resources when used to repair cars at a cost commensurate with their current value. Less energy is consumed during the production of remanufactured parts than new ones. In 2009, Bosch remanufactured 2.5 million parts and in doing so emitted 23,000 fewer tons of CO2 than if the parts had been manufactured from scratch.
Demand for high-quality remanufactured parts for car repairs has risen dramatically worldwide in recent years. In the U.S., the replacement business has already conquered almost a 90 percent share of the market. In Europe, too, the market segment is growing steadily, exhibiting far higher growth rates than the largely stagnating aftermarket as a whole. Bosch expects the remanufacturing market in Europe to grow to 30 million products per year by 2015. Bosch's remanufacturing program is supporting the trend towards resource conservation on the car repair market.
Given the chance to present a business idea or business model to the chairman or managing director of a major company or world market leader, which company founder would not feel an extra buzz of adrenalin? The competition for new businesses – staged annually by the Knowledge Factory in cooperation with a business newspaper – does just that, giving the winners an opportunity to take part in a networking weekend with company bosses. It is a matter of importance to Franz Fehrenbach, chairman of the Bosch board of management, to make time for company founders and to share knowledge and experience with the competition winners and furnish them with advice in workshops and conversations. The competition panel selects up to nine founders each year to attend these events.
Even those who don't win the competition have the chance to get support from the companies participating in the Knowledge Factory. The company network's mentoring program selects a personal mentor from its member companies who then takes on responsibility for supervising the young entrepreneur over a longer period. After being selected by the Knowledge Factory, the company founder and mentor work together to develop solutions for a successful company start-up, with the mentor providing the founder with access to the entire knowledge network in the Knowledge Factory. If the start-up records its first successes within three years of its participation in the mentoring program, the boss of the new company can also become a mentor, thus enabling his or her experience to be passed on, too.