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How e-bikes can improve urban traffic
Each day, we spend an average of about 11.5 hours sitting at our desks, in meetings, on the couch, or at restaurants. As a result, our physical activity is limited and we do not get enough fresh air. Getting to work is also part of the problem. In Germany, some 30 million commuters travel a total of 835 million kilometers each day.
Most of these commuters (82 percent) travel less than 25 kilometers, and could thus leave their cars at home and use e-bikes instead. Pedal electric cycles – pedelecs for short – are equipped with an electric drive that supports cyclists when they need it, thus enabling them to travel distances of up to 25 kilometers without breaking a sweat. Thanks to different levels of support, cyclists can decide themselves how much effort they want to put into pedaling.
Commuters who use pedelecs enjoy a largely stress-free commuting experience: particularly on short routes, e-bikes are often the fastest mode of transportation. Thanks to intelligent route planning, commuters can select routes with few intersections or without stop-and-go traffic. The Nylon onboard computer, which Bosch developed specifically for e-bikes, helps commuters navigate their way to work. The computer can be used to plan routes in advance, often making it possible to avoid long traffic jams. Moreover, pedelecs are eco-friendly: they emit only 1.25 percent the pollutants that cars do. As a result, pedelec users not only do something that is good for their health, they also contribute to protecting the environment.
Bosch spends about 400 million euros each year on e-mobility. The company also offers a broad range of components for e-bikes, among them the drive unit, which includes the motor and transmission, the power pack, and the onboard computer. According to ZIV’s most recent estimates, some 560,000 pedelecs were sold in 2016, up five percent over the previous year. This means that there are currently more than three million pedelecs on German streets.
eBikes can also be used as cargo bikes: in Brussels, Bosch technicians have been using e-cargo bikes since 2016.
More information on the ways in which e-bikes make urban life easier can be found here.
Bosch heating trends in 2017
The Bosch heating solutions of the future are digital, combined, and efficient. In 2017, the following three trends are in focus: smart technologies, hybrid heating systems, and low-emission pellet ovens.
Digital is better
Digital heating systems continue to make progress. Adaptive systems can automatically adjust room temperature according to time of day and weather developments. What is more, users can comfortably control their heating systems remotely via a PC, tablet, or smart phone. The application informs them of current energy consumption and gives tips to help save costs – and thus also heat in a more eco-friendly way. And should an error occur, repairmen can quickly intervene: the smart devices can inform technicians directly of a malfunction, thus enabling them to bring along exactly the parts needed for the repair.
Clever combined solutions
The principle of hybrid heating involves the best possible combination of different sources of heat. A mix of several different technologies is feasible: from gas or oil condensation boilers to heating pumps and solar thermal energy or photovoltaic arrays. The idea is that using renewable sources of energy reduces heating costs and makes homeowners more independent of individual sources of energy. What is more, combining efficient components with one another can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 30 percent.
Heating with wood
Modern pellet heating systems enable climate-friendly heat generation. They burn pellets made of sawdust and shavings in an almost carbon-neutral manner and are very efficient. In order to take full advantage of the system’s potential, extra buffer storage is recommended. This ensures that the boiler runs at the best possible heating operating point.
More information on current heating trends can be found here (only in German available).
Find out how current heating systems can help save energy with the Bosch renovation calculator (only in German available).
Bosch’s contributions along the food chain
Each year, approximately 4 billion metric tons of food are produced worldwide. But how much do people actually consume? Answer: just two-thirds of it. The resulting cost to the economy and the environment is huge.
To mark the UN’s World Food Day on October 16, this blog article takes a look at some areas in which Bosch is helping to improve sustainability in food production, transport, storage, and consumption.
The link between a technological company and agriculture might not be very obvious. But in fact, Bosch and agriculture go back a long way.
For Robert Bosch himself, the subject was one that occupied a lot of his spare time. After the first world war, he set up the Bosch Farm: “Back then, it seemed to me a great feat to transform a mere bog into a land of milk and honey,” he said. His plan was to turn a tract of poor land in Upper Bavaria into a model farming estate. Using state-of-the-art technology to produce high-quality products that could be sold in the region, the project got under way with the help of special machines, and the newly developed process of silage making was introduced. Robert Bosch also made use of what we would now call eco-friendly methods in creating an environment that would attract hosts of birds, thus providing a natural means of pest control. However, the Bosch Farm remained a subsidized operation.
A motorized plow for tilling the fields at the Bosch Farm, 1927.
From the farm to hydraulics, from hydraulics to robotics
Some ten years after the death of its founder in 1942, the company ventured into the new territory of equipment for agricultural machinery. In the early 1950s, the manual labor involved in German agriculture, from sowing to harvest, prompted efforts to come up with clever technological aids that would simplify work in the fields. The first such aid was a hydraulic lift which used the tractor’s engine to lift and lower the plow.
Nowadays, however, it is no longer hydraulics that form the link between Bosch and agriculture, but robotics, sensor technology, and connectivity. For example, the Bosch sensors that have become common in automobiles and smartphones can also be used in asparagus fields to record weather conditions. This information can be transmitted to an app to determine the right time for harvesting, watering, or covering the crop – increasing productivity and avoiding waste.
Bosch has also joined forces with scientific partners to develop a multifunctional agricultural robot platform that can be fitted with different components to perform a variety of tasks. It uses findings from robotics, sensor technology, and connectivity.
BoniRob is a multi-purpose robotic platform for applications in agriculture.
The “BoniRob” conducts not only soil and plant analyses, but also eliminates weeds. The robot can check the condition of individual plants every day. In plant cultivation and breeding, it can also provide completely new insights into how environmental conditions and treatment methods affect plant growth and quality.
Connected technology for aquaculture
Another example of Bosch technology used in sustainable agriculture is provided by an Australian start-up called “The Yield.” This new agri-tech company uses sensors, data management, and user-friendly apps to create novel tools for agriculture and aquaculture – e.g. in oyster farming. As a partner and investor, Bosch manages the data and supplies the technology for collecting and recording it.
Oyster farming in Australia.
Oysters are filter feeders. When it rains, they accumulate contaminants from agricultural run-off. As this is a potential health risk, oyster harvests are often at risk of being stopped by industry regulators. Where oyster farmers previously relied on estimates or prior experience, the Bosch solution has now fundamentally changed oyster farming: The ability to collect and report localized data has reduced closures in the Tasmanian oyster industry by up to 30 percent, and helped to increase productivity and sustainability. Researchers are also using the data to improve the management of diseases such as Pacific Oyster Mortality Syndrome (POMS). For more information, visit www.theyield.com.
Next step: clean shelf, clean environment
When buying sugar or flour, it’s not unusual to find traces of these products in the shopping bag or on the kitchen counter. This is not only a nuisance to the customer, but also a source of waste. To put an end to this, Bosch has recently presented a sustainable innovation: the world’s first sealed paper packaging solution. In collaboration with the Swedish paper specialist BillerudKorsnäs, Bosch Packaging Technology has come up with dust-tight packaging for dry products such as sugar, grains, flour, or powders. Using sustainable mono-material paper, the packaging contains no additional polymers.
The new sustainable packaging is dust-tight, enhancing product protection and keeping supermarket and kitchen shelves clean. It keeps dust and insects out, and prevents spillage along the entire supply chain. In addition, the mechanical properties of the paper reduce environmental impact.
Bosch solutions for transport: smart containers
A significant portion of global food production is spoiled before it reaches the consumer; the largest loss occurs during transportation. What to do about it?
In collaboration with Dole, the world's largest producer and marketer of fresh fruit and vegetables, Bosch has carried out three smart container tests focusing on the monitoring and subsequent ripening of bananas. The packing boxes are fitted with wireless sensors. Once the pallets have been loaded into the smart container, remote monitoring commences.
During sea transport, an interface between an internal sensor network and external communication keeps a constant watch on the quality of the bananas. For example, as soon as the temperature changes, a remote intervention is made and an alert is sent. The emergency signal is sent to the monitoring center, and the customer (in this case, Dole) can be directly informed.
Sensors in packing boxes monitor conditions and allow to adjust them in time if necessary.
In smart containers, loss due to perishing is only 20 percent. The advantages are that the quality of goods is constantly monitored and consequently improved.
Cook with care – sustainability in Bosch cafeterias
According to recent statistics, an astonishing amount of food is wasted. The average U.S. American, for example, throws away 507 dollars’ worth of food every year. This waste is even more acute in canteens and other large dining facilities that process huge amounts of food.
Kevin Clauss works as a cook at the Bosch plant in Schwieberdingen, Germany.
In Bosch cafeterias worldwide, the people in charge are sensitive to this issue and doing their best to avoid food waste. “We try to plan very carefully what we buy and use”, says Marc Seidel, who is responsible for the cafeteria in Schwieberdingen, Germany.
While hygienic considerations mean that fresh products such as lettuce still have to be thrown away, other food that has been cooked but not served is usually cooled and reused. Dairy products such as milk and yogurt are bought in smaller quantities and used at shorter notice, which helps to reduce food waste.
From the field to the plate: Bosch is doing its best to increase productivity and ensure sustainability in the field of agriculture, food transport, storage – and consumption.
International committee develops ISO environmental standards further
For ten days, Seoul was the environmental management capital of the world. At the beginning of September, the South Korean metropolis hosted the annual ISO/TC 207 Technical Committee meeting. The international group of experts aims to create global environmental management standards for organizations. To this end, 250 delegates, experts, representatives of partner organizations, and observers from 40 countries travelled to Asia for the committee’s 23rd plenary meeting. Nine participants from Germany attended the event to represent their national interests in sub-committees and working groups. Bosch was among them, and played an active role.
L.T.R. Christoph Töpfer (UBA), Dr. Joachim Nibbe (Koordinierungsbüro Normungsarbeit der Umweltverbände Berlin), Bernhard Schwager, Martina Prox (IFU Hamburg), Reiner Hager (DIN Berlin), Volker Gehr (Steinbeis Glückstadt) and Peter Saling (BASF)
The event focused on the further development of the ISO 14000fff series of environmental norms. The norm provides organizations around the world with guidelines on how to implement environmental management systems; carry out audits, inspections, and environmental performance assessments; and perform eco-labeling processes.
ISO 14001 – the most well known norm – was revised in 2015. Since then, ISO 14004 has also been introduced. It serves as a guide on the principles, systems, and methods of environmental management. In the future, it will help organizations make environmental protection an integral part of all their processes more easily. Around the world, some 300,000 organizations have already received ISO 14001 certification. Of these, 8,000 are in Germany. Environmental management systems have been introduced at all Bosch locations. Some 80 percent of locations have received external certification, and the remaining locations are set to follow.
In order to promote the introduction of environmental management systems at small and medium-sized companies, the technical committee also began revising the ISO 14005 norm, which includes instructions on the gradual introduction of an environmental management system. In the future, the norm will be simpler and more flexible. What is more, the current version will make it possible for organizations to integrate environmental management in their core business. The changes are scheduled to be implemented by the fall of 2018.
For the first time, the experts addressed the topic of the monetary assessment of environmental issues. To this end, the ISO 14007 and 14008 standards will specify suitable processes in the future. The new focus aims to make environmental concerns a more important part of decision-making processes in politics and business. Germany will play in active role in the development of the new norm.
An interview of the "Forum Nachhaltig Wirtschaften" magazine with Bernhard Schwager on the ISO standards can be found here.
More information on environmental management at Bosch can be found here.
Bosch has encouraged 2,265 associates to carpool through the “flinc” digital ride-sharing network
In Germany, about 20 million people drive to work by car every day. On average, these commuters drive 8,000 kilometers a year on their trips to and from their jobs. All of this road travel adds up to 160 billion kilometers a year – which amounts to four million trips around the equator. This not only leads to high fuel costs. People who regularly drive to work also generate high levels of CO2.
Source: flinc (available only in German)
Sharing rides is one way for drivers to reduce the environmental impact and the fuel costs associated with commuting. To make it easier for Bosch associates to do this, last year the company created the “Bosch Carpooling Network” in cooperation with the “flinc” digital ride-sharing service. The goal is to provide an easy way for commuters to connect with each other, thereby reducing their respective carbon footprints. Using an app, interested commuters can sign up with the “Bosch Carpooling Network” to find passengers or a ride. The app takes into account both trips to and from work, and trips to run errands along the way. Timetables for shuttle buses serving Bosch plants and offices are also integrated into the app, as are public transportation schedules. The real-time software for the app was developed especially with short distances and flexible departure and arrival times in mind. The service is not only suitable for commuters, but also for business travel, like driving to meetings or for travel between different sites. This leads to direct savings for the company.
About a year after the launch of the Bosch network, the results are quite encouraging: initially encompassing only associates at the Bosch plants and offices in Feuerbach, Schwieberdingen, Homburg (Saar), Schweinfurt, and Blaichach-Immenstadt, the network has already been used by 2,265 associates. Bosch plans to expand the digital network to other locations, so that the CO2 emissions generated by commuters can be steadily reduced.
More information on the Bosch Carpooling Network can be found here (available only in German).