Bosch targets €5 bn worth sales with techs for hydrogen mobility by 2030
German automotive technology firm Bosch is marking its entry into the age of hydrogen mobility with the commencement of volume production of its fuel-cell power modules. Nikola Corporation will be the product's pilot customer, with the fuel-cells scheduled to enter the North American market in the third quarter of 2023 via IVECO's Class 8 hydrogen fuel cell electric truck.
"Here in Stuttgart-Feuerbach, in the plant whose history goes back further than any other Bosch plant, the hydrogen future is about to happen," said Dr. Stefan Hartung, the chairman of the board of management of Robert Bosch GmbH, at the Bosch Tech Day 2023 held a couple of days ago. "Bosch knows its way around hydrogen, and Bosch is growing with hydrogen", he added.
Operating along the entire hydrogen value chain, the company is developing technologies for H2's production and application. By 2030, Bosch plans to generate sales of roughly 5 billion euros with hydrogen technology.
Bosch claims to be relying on a global manufacturing network, together with the prowess of its German facilities. For instance, the fuel-cell stacks will be supplied by its Bamberg plant to the the Feuerbach factory where its assembled into modular systems. While the company's Homburg plant will be supporting the H2 products with important system components such as the electric air compressor and the recirculation blower.
"Bosch is one of the very few companies that are capable of mass producing technology as complex as fuel-cell stacks. We don't just have the required systems expertise, but also the capability of quickly scaling up new developments to mass production," said Markus Heyn, member of the Bosch board of management and chairman of Bosch Mobility.
Further, the production of the fuel-cell power module is not only starting in Feuerbach, but also in Chongqing, China. Few other components that the systems require will come from Bosch's Wuxi plant as well.
"Bosch is the first company to produce these systems in both China and Germany," Hartung said. In addition, the German firm is also planning to manufacture stacks for mobile applications in its U.S. plant in Anderson, South Carolina.
Worldwide, the company expects that, by 2030, one in five new trucks weighing six tons or more will feature a fuel-cell powertrain. It says to be "crystal-clear" on its advocacy of establishing a hydrogen economy for a climate-neutral world.
Between 2021 and 2026, Bosch vows to invest a total of nearly 2.5 billion euros in the development and manufacturing of its H2 technologies including H2 production systems and hydrogen engines for long-haul heavy vehicles.
At the start of 2023, Bosch started constructing prototypes for electrolysis using proton exchange membranes – in other words, the reverse of the energy conversion method used in mobile fuel cells. Later this year, the company intends to make 1.25 MW prototypes available for pilot applications, and claims to be on track to start volume production in 2025.
Bosch's hydrogen engine, on the other hand, are being developed for both port and direct injection of hydrogen. "A hydrogen engine can do everything a diesel engine does, but on top of that, it is carbon neutral. It also allows a fast and cost-effective entry into hydrogen-based mobility," Heyn said.
The company claims that more than 90 percent of the development and manufacturing technologies needed for H2 engines already exist. The engine is expected to be launched in the beginning of next year.