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Synthetic fuels could power carbon-neutral vehicles in the near future
Until recently, preventing around 2.8 gigatons of CO2 emissions by 2050 seemed like an impossible vision. This could soon change with the help of synthetic fuels, also known as e-fuels. A Bosch study has shown that these fuels can make a significant contribution to reaching climate targets if they are consistently used in passenger vehicles. In contrast to biofuels, producing this new fuel does not compromise agricultural land, as the use of limited arable land is not required. E-fuels are produced exclusively with renewable sources of energy as well as with the combination of hydrogen and carbon. The latter can even be extracted from the air through filters. These two elements can be combined to make synthetic gasoline, diesel, and kerosene.
“To reach the climate targets of the future, we need intelligent solutions beyond e-mobility,” says Dr. Volkmar Denner, chairman of the board of management of Robert Bosch GmbH. In fact, to reach the targets laid out in the Paris agreement, the European Commission estimates that global CO2 emissions caused by road traffic must be reduced by at least 50 percent around the world, and by 85 percent in the industrialized nations. Synthetic fuels could play a key role in this regard. The use of e-fuels would mean that drivers would not need to buy a new electric car to protect the environment. From vintage cars to family vehicles, every car can drive with synthetic fuels. Moreover, these fuels allow for almost soot-free combustion.
A promising development
Until now, the production of e-fuels has been very expensive. In the future, a strong market and favorable developments in terms of energy prices could mean that synthetic fuels are available for EUR 1,00 to 1,40 per liter, plus taxes. What is more, the current network of service stations could still be used, as synthetic fuels have the same chemical structures as conventional gasoline. The only difference is that the air stays clean.
However, e-fuels are still in development. This is why they are receiving the support of the German Federal Ministry for Economy and Energy within the framework of the “Energy transition in Road Traffic” initiative. The cost of production facilities must be reduced and additional test facilities built. If synthetic fuels become more accessible and affordable, the carbon-neutral engine may well become reality.
Please find further information here.
At Bosch, senior experts are an integral part of the team
While knowledge about methods and processes can be recorded for future generations, experience cannot. This is why Bosch relies on mixed-age teams with its diversity management initiatives. In so doing, the company defies convention, as senior experts – retired associates between 60 and 75 – work on projects, in which they offer their specialist and management expertise as well as their deep knowledge of the Bosch Group and its culture. Even though they are removed from day-to-day business, these experts contribute to a broader corporate goal: the aim of maintaining Bosch knowledge.
Retirees can register as senior experts at Bosch Management Support GmbH; in some cases, the request comes from a specialist department. Once they join the team, senior experts work to the same standard of quality as any other Bosch associate. When they reach the end of a project, they receive a mandatory rating from their customers, and they score 93 out of 100 points on average. At the same time, the departments are not overly concerned about costs: senior experts are paid based on their former salaries. The retirees thus feel valued and can keep their knowledge up to date.
Bosch Management Support GmbH (BMS) handles the placement of retired associates. It was founded in 1999 with 30 senior experts. Today, BMS draws on a pool of 1,500, who have a total of 40,000 years of professional experience between them. Last year, the retirees worked a total of 65,000 working days, supporting projects mainly in manufacturing and commercial areas. Two-thirds of them are specialists, while a third are executives.
More information about cross-generational cooperation at Bosch, as well as the company’s understanding of diversity, can be found here.
Bosch joins the CEFLEX initiative
Bosch has joined CEFLEX, which stands for “A Circular Economy for Flexible Packaging“. The initiative aims to make flexible packaging a major part of the recycling economy in the future. The partners cover the entire flexible packaging value-added chain, from raw material suppliers to manufacturers and recyclers.
The initiative intends to make measurable progress by 2020. Coordinator Graham Houlder expects that “the amount of collected and flexible packaging will continue to increase as will the number of European countries that will actively collect and sort flexible packaging so that it is available to be recycled”. What is more, according to Houlder, “we need to raise consumer’s awareness about the significant value this type of packaging delivers thanks to it’s very efficient use of packaging materials hereby helping to prevent both product and packaging waste and contributing to the emerging Circular Economy”. By 2025, CEFLEX aims to facilitate the development of collection, sorting and recycling infrastructure throughout Europe to enable the materials used in these flexible packs to be redeployed in the circular economy and to pro-actively prevent them from leaking into the natural environment.
Bosch Packaging Technology is the first CEFLEX partner that is active in the field of facilitating technologies.
First sealed paper packaging produced by Bosch
Cooperating with partners throughout the entire value-added chain reflects the company’s understanding of sustainability. “When it comes to sustainability, Bosch takes a comprehensive approach. We want to support our customers with everything from concept development and testing to implementation in production processes,” says Dr. Stefan König, president of Bosch Packaging Technology. To make packaging even more environmentally friendly and resource efficient, the company also plays an active role in a number of consortia and initiatives. One of these is “Save Food”, a program that aims to reduce food waste around the world, especially food that spoils before it reaches consumers.
In addition to this, Bosch Packaging Technology is already working on sustainable solutions. Here, too, the company has taken a comprehensive approach. Depending on individual requirements, different packaging materials and processes can be selected for specific products with the aim of maintaining quality and protecting them during transport.
Plastic materials offer a high-end solution for products that require an extra layer of protection for transport or packaging for specific environments. For instance, last year, the company presented the world’s first sealed paper packaging. It is made of BillerudKorsnäs Axello®ZAP mono-material paper, and is thus an eco-friendly alternative to plastic for products such as sugar or flour.
Bosch begins operation of largest solar power plant in the Indian automotive industry
The Bosch location in Nashik, India, has installed 36,000 solar panels at its site. The plant in the Indian city specializes in the production of components for fuel injection systems. To reduce energy consumption and CO2 emissions at the plant, the site is now operating the largest solar power plant in India’s automotive industry. In three project phases since 2015, the local project team has had thousands of solar panels installed on rooftops, in parking lots, and in vacant areas.
To ensure that the solar modules operate seamlessly, they need to be thoroughly cleaned. To this end, Bosch experts have developed an inexpensive solution: a sprinkler system with special nozzles that spray the panels with constant water pressure at a 360-degree angle. The smart approach towards renewable solar energy saves energy equivalent to that required by 16,700 households and equivalent water saving 1.4 billion liters/year. With peak performance of 10 MWp, the solar power plant already covers 40 percent of the Nashik location’s day time energy needs. The aim is to increase the figure to 100 percent of day time energy need by 2018.
The new power plant is part of a comprehensive energy management approach that is based on three pillars. First, Bosch Nashik is systematically increasing energy efficiency throughout the value chain. Second, thanks to precise consumption analyses and forecasts, energy costs can be continuously reduced. Third, the Bosch location promotes projects that drive the expansion of renewable sources of energy forward. As a result, Bosch Nashik has reduced its CO2 emissions by 31,000 tons in the past four years, and saved 35 million units (35.000.000 kilowatt hours) of energy.
The project in India reflects the Bosch vision of sustainability: By 2020, the company aims to reduce its CO₂ emissions relative to value added by 35 percent over 2007 levels. More information about individual locations’ current efforts to protect the environment can be found in the Sustainability Report.
The Bosch LGBT network waves its flag at the company and beyond
For 11 years, the Bosch RBg associate network has promoted greater acceptance and appreciation of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender issues. With two recent initiatives, the company highlighted the importance of this network once again. This past weekend, some 60 Bosch associates took part in Stuttgart’s Christopher Street Day (CSD) festivities, with a truck and group of walkers in the pride parade. Their aim was to raise awareness and encourage more tolerance in the way society deals with sexual orientation. It was the fourth time that RBg took part in the CSD parade, and Bosch sponsored the event for the second time.
A few days earlier, the LGBT Allies network was launched within RBg. In the future, 15 Bosch associates with different functions and from different divisions will serve as ambassadors for LGBT rights. They will help eliminate stereotypes about gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people and promote an open dialog about sexual orientation.
Ambassadors of tolerance: at the end of July, the new LGBT Allies network was launched with 15 associates at Bosch. Christoph Kübel (ninth from the left), the director of industrial relations at Bosch, was on hand for the kickoff.
A climate of tolerance and acceptance
“With our presence at CSD in Stuttgart and our new Bosch ambassadors for LGBT issues, we demonstrated our commitment to diversity, both at the company and beyond,” says Christoph Kübel, member of the board of management and director of industrial relations at Bosch. “A climate of tolerance and acceptance is important for our success. To make the best possible use of our associates’ talents, we need to create a work environment in which all associates can be themselves, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. This is why we actively support the activities of the RBg associate network.”
The Bosch RBg network was founded in 2006 and now counts 290 members. Of these, about 50 are active outside of Germany, in countries such as Hungary, the United States, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Japan, and China.
More information about the network can be found here.