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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.
“Who wants to drill a hole in the concrete wall?” Senior trainer Laszlo Kunfalvi, from the technical-industrial training program at the Bosch Leinfelden location, looks at the group expectantly. It's not his apprentices he's talking to, but five- and six-year-old girls and boys wearing huge protective goggles. Children don't usually come into contact with life at real companies and most have only seen factories in pictures or films. To ensure that children are not scared in any way, and to introduce them to the working world at an early age, Bosch invites kindergartens and schools to take part in on-site tours as part of its educational partnerships. While there, the children are even allowed to try out drills for themselves.
Bosch apprentices are also involved in these educational partnerships – they supervise the children as they try out different tools and develop practical projects and workshops with school classes. The schoolchildren will work with up-and-coming industrial mechanics to build a complete wind turbine, including LED lighting, for example. This kind of project work is extremely motivating and beneficial for apprentices. It involves them setting their own goals and taking a step outside their everyday routine. Working closely with schoolchildren from a different age group also helps strengthen their sense of responsibility and social skills. And the children are delighted to be learning something new – without even having to go to school.