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The Bosch plant in Homburg is one of the first Bosch locations to be awarded energy management certification in line with DIN EN 16001
The development and certification of the energy management system at the Homburg location is part of the company's initiative to systematically cut CO2 emissions at the manufacturing locations of the Bosch Group worldwide. Cutting CO2 emissions is a top priority for the Homburg location, which has set up a dedicated steering committee to pursue this goal.
The Bosch Group is aiming to reduce CO2 emissions at its manufacturing locations by at least 20 percent compared to 2007 levels by 2020. To achieve this goal, the Homburg location has made cutting CO2 emissions one of the top priorities of its business excellence process. The comprehensive measures initiated by the CO2 steering committee include the development of an energy management system to EN 16001. The Homburg plant has a workforce of around 5,000 associates who produce, among other things, injectors and high-pressure pumps for diesel engines. The plant's environmental management activities have been certified regularly since 2003. This was the same year that the Homburg location started to base its activities on the EFQM business excellence model. In 2009, the Bosch plant in Homburg was awarded the Ludwig Erhard Prize in recognition of its quality management and improvement culture.
In addition to environmental management, the new energy management system has now also been certified by an environmental auditor. The energy management system is based on standard EN 16001, which came into force in 2009. It sets out standardized criteria for energy management systems throughout the EU. The energy management system at the Homburg location includes measures such as compressed air management, disconnection options for machines, systems, and equipment, and the identification of peak consumers or energy bottlenecks for analyzing the energy utilization of machines and systems. These measures are designed to cut the location's energy consumption and thus its CO2 emissions by more than 17,000 metric tons of CO2. Having completed the tests on the new energy management system, the Homburg plant is one of the first Bosch locations to be awarded an energy management certificate.
Bosch employs two models of the hybrid drive for commercial vehicles
Safer, cleaner and more efficient — these are the main drivers of the commercial vehicle industry. Increasingly stringent emissions standards are another reason why Bosch expects a marked increase in demand for clean and cost-effective diesel technology, efficient generators and the fuel-saving start-stop system. A further major step towards more efficient engines, for commercial vehicles, too, is hybrid technology, for which Bosch employs two models — the electric hybrid for light to medium-weight vehicles and the hydraulic hybrid for heavy commercial vehicles.
Start-stop technology, which reduces fuel consumption in urban driving conditions by up to eight percent, is also making its mark in the light commercial vehicle sector. In 2010, the company supplied almost 10,000 start-stop systems for this market. This figure is set to rise to more than 100,000 in 2012. Auxiliary units, such as efficient generators, also lower fuel consumption and thus operating costs. Bosch will deliver around 1.7 million generators to commercial-vehicle manufacturers this year, with this number set to rise considerably. Future emissions standards, such as Euro6 and US2010, are a driving force behind the spread of clean and economical diesel technology. Industrialized countries are moving towards these high standards, with emerging markets close behind. Bosch's common-rail sales on the global commercial vehicle market are set to increase from 1.9 million systems this year to 2.8 million by as soon as 2012, and sales for the Denoxtronic emissions treatment system are expected to double.
Hybrid drives generate significant savings in urban traffic — a fact that applies to commercial vehicles, too. Bosch is employing two concepts to incorporate this drive into commercial vehicles, combining the combustion engine with either an electric motor or a hydraulic unit. The hydraulic hybrid is most suited to use in heavy commercial vehicles and for eco-friendly operation of city buses. For example, garbage trucks fitted with hydraulic hybrids from subsidiary Bosch Rexroth can cut fuel consumption by up to 25 percent. Braking not only recovers energy, but also causes less brake wear.
Bosch has expanded its portfolio for the electric hybrid for light and medium-weight vehicles. After the successful launch of parallel full hybrid technology in the passenger vehicle market, the system can now also be used efficiently in vans and minibuses. It is now possible to cover short distances with full hybrid vehicles using only electricity, thus making them emission-free. Compared with pure diesel engines, commercial vehicles run on the diesel hybrid lower CO2 emissions by up to 20% in the New European Driving Cycle. Depending on the vehicle, the fuel savings amount to between 20 and 25 percent, making hybrid technology a commercially viable alternative. A 3.5 metric ton vehicle can therefore recover the extra cost of an electric hybrid if it clocks up a good 20,000 kilometers per year.
Member of the Bosch board of management responsible for environmental protection, manufacturing coordination and investment planning as well as the regions North and South America
How is Bosch progressing with its objective to reduce CO2 emissions?
Marks: We are on the right track. Last year we reduced our relative CO2 emissions by over four percent compared to 2007, with each division doing its bit. However, the economic crisis forced us to make drastic cuts to our 2009 investment in fixed assets, which was 40 percent lower than in 2008. Consequently some of the energy conservation projects we were planning, including long-term ones, have had to be postponed. This means our CO2 emissions have so far decreased less than originally anticipated, although we are expecting to make more headway in 2010.
What role do the buildings of the new Bosch headquarters in Singapore and Shanghai play?
Marks: These are highly symbolic landmark projects. This is the first time we have used environmentally friendly, sustainable Bosch technology to create prestigious new buildings in the booming Asian market. Our strategy in Asia is a logical continuation of what we have been doing in Germany for years: Providing associates, customers, suppliers, and local politicians with another major indication of our ecological commitment.
But surely the lion’s share of reductions could be achieved in production…
Marks: Very true. Between 70 and 80 percent of a location’s energy is used in production. This area has huge potential: A study conducted by the Drive and Control Technology division showed, for example, that its Elchingen plant could reduce the energy it uses by up to 25 percent. Now it’s a matter of consistently increasing this potential, using our own technology as far as possible.
What measures do the divisions need to take in order to achieve this?
Marks: The divisions have a huge responsibility. Despite the continuing severe economic pressures, they need to take the appropriate steps necessary to achieve our ambitious target of reducing CO2 emissions by 20 percent compared to 2007. Several of the divisions have been implementing highly promising approaches. For example, Diesel Systems achieved the biggest absolute CO2 decrease of 166,000 tons, which corresponds to approximately 40 percent of the reductions we made worldwide last year.
Is the number of encouraging examples increasing?
Marks: Yes. One example is the new wafer production plant in Reutlingen, which uses photovoltaic systems to cover some of its energy requirements. In Madrid we installed a solar heating system for heating drinking water; this now provides the majority of the hot water required by the cafeteria in the summer. A similarly successful emission reduction project has been implemented in Hallein, Austria, where we converted the entire heating system from natural gas to district heating that uses waste heat recovered from the local wood and paper industry. Several other sustainable building projects are in the pipeline – for example in Coimbatore, Moscow, Suzhou, and Yokohama.
Interview: Klaus Mittelbach - Executive Director of the ZVEI – German Electrical and Electronic Manufacturers Association
The German government recently presented its new energy concept. Is it capable of fulfilling your expectations in terms of modernizing the energy system in Germany?
Mittelbach: Germany is facing enormous challenges when it comes to energy policies. There is no disputing the fact that the future belongs to renewable energies, particularly wind and solar power. We have now arrived at a point where further key steps have to be taken in order to ensure an ecological energy supply strategy. At the same time, we also have to safeguard supplies and keep energy costs under control. If we are to make more rapid progress in the field of climate protection, we have to make better use of the enormous energy saving potential already available to us today. For example, 70 billion kilowatt hours could be saved each year simply by using more energy-efficient products in electrical drives, lighting, and refrigerators and freezers. That's equivalent to half of the power consumed by all Germany's private households! Process automation is another area with great potential savings. Ultimately, energy efficiency is also our biggest source of energy – and that's not just true of Germany!
According to a study by the German Federal Environment Agency, Germany's power supply could be completely converted to renewable energies by 2050. Do you share this view and what role are renewable energies playing in the future-oriented market for climate-friendly electric cars?
Mittelbach: Technically speaking, it's definitely possible. However, the politicians have to put the right framework in place to support it. That's because the full potential of renewable energies can only be unlocked through the use of smart grids. As it stands, our grids are not designed to cope with the ever increasing, ever more flexible requirements of the energy market. Furthermore, a network of this type – also known as the “energy Internet”– is a key condition for electromobility. That's why we cannot allow this key technology of the 21st century to be reduced simply to the level of drivetrain electrification in vehicles – it has to be considered from an integrated perspective. In addition to modernizing and increasing the flexibility of the grid, this above all demands the development of affordable, powerful batteries and the construction of an appropriate charging infrastructure. If the right framework is put in place, Germany in its role as a high-tech location has a good opportunity to be a key player in shaping the international market for electromobility.
What has to happen now to drive forward the expansion of the grid?
Mittelbach: Financial and political support is essential for the conversion of the grids. Without it, it will be impossible to fulfill the demand for more flexibility and improved communication in the future. What companies need is more certainty when it comes to planning, and binding targets. Unless further development work is carried out on the grids, the full potential of renewable energies cannot be unlocked – and this is key to the ambitious climate protection goals set out by the German government. Consequently, modernization of the power grid has to be a top priority in the government's energy concept – as the ZVEI points out in its recent paper responding to the planned energy concept.
Photovoltaics, solar thermal systems and geothermal energy are not just environmentally friendly, but also promote decentralized energy supply. How do you envisage the interaction between large centralized power plants and decentralized units if renewable energies continue to expand?
Mittelbach: Without flexible grids, it will be impossible to achieve the necessary interaction between the small number of conventional power plants and numerous “mini power plants” employing renewable energies. At the same time, there's no doubt that decentralized energy generation will become increasingly important. In future, more and more households will not only consume power, but also produce it by feeding power from their own photovoltaic systems into the grid, for example. Here, too, electromobility has a key role to play, as the batteries in electric vehicles can also act as energy storage devices. If there is a high level of renewable energies at our disposal, it's possible to save power that can then be used in periods when less energy is available – a form of virtual power balancing, if you wish.
At the IFA exhibition, the ZVEI and two other organizations presented the “E-Haus”, a house in which the building technology and household appliances are networked and the electric car sources power from the dedicated photovoltaic system. How close are we to seeing this type of scenario in practical application?
Mittelbach: The technologies for intelligent home networking are already available, and what until recently still seemed to be some kind of Utopian vision has now become a reality. In private households, state-of-the-art technologies from the electrical industry in particular are networking systems that previously operated parallel to one another. Yet rather than simply being an end in itself, this type of technology offers specific benefits. Technical support systems (“Ambient Assisted Living”), such as in-house emergency call systems or sensor mats, help people to live an independent life in their own home for longer. In addition, telemedicine can shift certain aspects of healthcare to the individual's home environment. Intelligent interaction between cutting-edge technologies offers numerous other benefits in terms of comfort and safety, yet at the same time creates new opportunities to make optimum use of energy and cut energy costs at the same time.
In 2009, Bosch cut relative CO2 emissions by more than four percent compared to 2007
When it comes to climate change, Bosch provides a very wide range of sustainable solutions. These are reflected in key research and development activities, the expansion of business in fields such as renewable energies, and the company's commitment to its long-term climate objective. Bosch is making progress toward achieving its goal of cutting CO2 emissions at its manufacturing locations by at least 20 percent by 2020. Last year, the company reduced its relative CO2 emissions by more than four percent compared to 2007. However, the reductions achieved still fall short of the planned target. “The economic crisis forced us to make drastic cuts to our 2009 investment in fixed assets, which was 40 percent lower than in 2008. Consequently some of the energy conservation projects we were planning, including long-term ones, have had to be postponed”, says member of the Bosch board of management Peter J. Marks. In 2009, around 45 percent of the total R&D budget of 3.6 billion euros was invested in developing products that protect the environment and conserve resources. Every year, for example, Bosch makes some 400 million euros available for development work on powertrain electrification.
Bosch already generates one third of its total sales from “green” technology. This includes renewable energy-related products, a sector that is continuing to grow in importance. Even during the crisis year of 2009, Bosch managed to achieve a slight increase in this area of business, recording just under one billion euros. Now, in 2010, the company aims to generate sales of 1.5 billion euros. Bosch has already fitted the fuel-saving start-stop system in around 1.5 million vehicles and, thanks to sales of household appliances from the Super Efficiency Portfolio of BSH Bosch Siemens Hausgeräte GmbH in Europe in 2009, it has also been possible to save around 1.1 billion kilowatt hours of electricity. Bosch is also a leading international supplier of remanufactured used car parts. In 2009, the company remanufactured 2.5 million parts and in doing so emitted 23,000 fewer metric tons of CO2 than if the parts had been manufactured from scratch. Bosch expects the remanufacturing market in Europe to grow to 30 million products per year by 2015.
The drop in sales resulting from the financial and economic crisis placed considerable pressure on Bosch staff last year. Consequently, Bosch sought to preserve its core team as far as possible. At times, up to 100,000 associates – some 65,000 of them in Germany – were affected by reduced working hours. Together with employee representatives, the board of management devised a series of solutions – even for countries that did not have corresponding government-subsidized and collectively agreed schemes in place. This meant that, to a large extent, it was possible to maintain employment levels. Overall, the workforce was reduced by around 11,000 – or 4 percent – to a total of 270,000. The number of apprentices remained stable. Even in the crisis year 2009, Bosch offered apprenticeships to 6,500 young people worldwide, once again training far more people than it actually needs. On average, each Bosch associate completed two training courses last year.
The third global associate survey carried out by Bosch revealed that 80 percent of associates identify strongly with the company. For the first time, the question of balancing career and family life was included in the survey, with two thirds of associates giving a positive response. Well over 80 percent of associates also said they believed that the Bosch Group worldwide is making a valuable contribution to the environment and to society. Examples include the company's promotion of educational partnerships through the Knowledge Factory and its support for the “Jugend forscht” youth science competition for the 25th time in succession. In 2009, the Robert Bosch Stiftung once again approved more than 800 new projects in the fields of science, health, international relations, education, society, and culture, contributing a total of 64.1 million euros.