UN climate conference in Paris: Bosch reduces energy consumption – CO2 emissions already cut by 20 percent

Bosch is making progress when it comes to climate protection. Since 2007, the company has succeeded in reducing relative CO2 emissions related to value-added by more than 20 percent thanks to various energy-saving measures, such as the use of eco-friendly technologies in manufacturing and the installation of efficient heating technology in buildings. “The conservation of resources and reduction of CO2 emissions are a part of our social responsibility as business people. By using intelligent energy-saving technology, industry can make a significant contribution to climate protection,” said Dr. Werner Struth, the Bosch board of management member responsible for environmental protection. The measures aimed at saving energy are set to be expanded in the future. However, energy efficiency not only benefits the environment and society, but is also a key factor for companies in achieving a competitive edge, according to Struth. For Bosch, the lower energy consumption is already paying off financially. Between 2007 and 2014 alone, the company saved around 530 million euros in energy costs through in-house measures.

CO2 coordinators analyze energy consumption
Bosch has implemented many projects aimed at supplying itself with renewable energy. Today, a modern hydroelectric facility supplies the company’s plant in Blaichach, Germany, for example. The location generates around three-quarters of the energy it needs itself. At various Bosch locations, specially trained CO2 coordinators are also searching for ways to save energy. These experts and their teams analyze the energy consumption of production facilities, for example. The information gained makes it possible to reduce the consumption of electricity and heat by switching off power consumers that are not currently needed, to name one method. Bosch also provides many of its solutions for more energy efficiency to industrial customers, who can achieve energy savings of up to 30 percent.

A few examples of how Bosch is saving energy:

Corporate research in Renningen, Germany: green roofs for climate control and photovoltaic arrays
The company’s new research campus in Renningen features green roofs. Like a sponge, they absorb rainwater, which they release in small quantities during dry periods. Having the sun shine on the green surfaces rather than directly on the roofs saves energy on climate control systems within the buildings. To save even more power, all the windows of the main building have been triple-glazed. The building is also equipped with a sun-shade system that automatically lowers itself in bright sunlight. This combination cuts energy consumption by 20 to 30 percent – energy that the air-conditioning system would otherwise have needed for cooling. In addition, the photovoltaic arrays on the roofs of the campus buildings generate as much electricity as around 100 families use in a year, thus reducing CO2 emissions by 200 metric tons annually.

Beringen, Switzerland: thermal groundwater use
At the Packaging Technology location in Beringen, Switzerland, a modern building is heated with the help of a subterranean groundwater basin. In this system, pumps extract up to 2,000 liters of groundwater a minute from a depth of 40 meters. They transport it to two heat pumps that generate heating energy by way of energy conversion. In summer, it is possible to cool the building directly by using the groundwater, as its temperature of around twelve degrees Celsius is significantly cooler than the temperature inside the building. To make this possible, the groundwater is heated in a closed-circuit system using a heat exchanger and then returned to below the surface. The building complies with the Minergie standard, a Swiss seal of quality for energy-optimized construction. The modern building and the use of groundwater saves 180,000 liters of heating oil and around 480 metric tons of CO2 a year during heating and cooling. Capturing this amount of CO2 from the air would require planting approximately 35,000 trees.

Worcester, United Kingdom: water recycling
At the Thermotechnology location in Worcester, a new water-recycling system is helping ensure efficiency and resource conservation in manufacturing. Every year, the location needs around 110 million liters of water in research and development, in its long-term testing facilities, and in production. The new recycling system makes it possible to reuse cooling water from the production facilities. The recycling system saves twelve metric tons of CO2 and around 71 million liters of water annually – which corresponds approximately to the water consumption of 650 households.

Schweinfurt, Germany: combining extraction systems
The Bosch Rexroth plant in Schweinfurt has reduced its energy consumption by almost four gigawatt hours per year, which corresponds approximately to the energy consumption of 1,100 households. CO2 emissions have decreased by more than 1,500 metric tons. Combining the grinders’ extraction systems, which had previously been separate, made a major contribution to achieving these savings. Like large vacuum cleaners, they remove fumes and vapors from cooling lubricants. Cooling lubricants are necessary to cool and lubricate the grinding disks that are used in manufacturing as well as for parts during processing. The exhaust air from several systems now flows through pipes to a few larger filters. Thanks to a regulated motor, the fans extract only as much air as is necessary.

Mellansel, Sweden: energy-efficient painting technology
One of the most flexible and eco-friendly painting shops in the European mechanical engineering sector is located in Mellansel, Sweden. The machinery that is painted at this Bosch Rexroth plant includes heavy-duty hydraulic engines for recycling plants and mining. Engines that will subsequently come into contact with salt water are coated with several layers of corrosion-proofing. The temperature and the mix of water and color pigments are monitored closely so that excess heat can be recovered. As a result, energy consumption is 75 percent lower than it used to be. The switch to water-based paint also reduces the use of solvents by around 80 percent.

Nuremberg, Germany: oil tank converted into a modern refrigeration storage unit
The plant in Nuremberg has converted a former oil tank into a refrigeration storage unit. Together with refrigeration systems, it now makes a contribution to the energy-efficient cooling of lubricants. These lubricants are used to combat the heat that is created during the turning and milling of parts. The refrigeration systems cool water in advance. As in a refrigerator, the water remains at a constant temperature in the tank of the refrigeration storage unit. It also uses the ambient temperature to cool the tank itself. By doing so, the converted tank saves around 300 metric tons of CO2 a year. Capturing this amount of CO2 from the air would require planting a forest the size of approximately 30 soccer fields.

Rodez, France: biomass cogeneration plant
Bosch’s plant for diesel injectors in the southern French city of Rodez recently upgraded its heating system. As part of this, two of its three gas-fired cogeneration plants were replaced by a biomass cogeneration plant. It heats the buildings and supplies them with warm water. The new system has reduced the plant’s CO2 emissions by roughly 25 percent. In total, this adds up to annual savings of some 600 tons of CO2. The new system satisfies strict environmental regulations and exclusively runs on biomass from the local forestry industry.

Stuttgart-Feuerbach, Germany: retrofitted cleaning machines in diesel injection-pump manufacturing
The Feuerbach site manufactures diesel injection pumps that are used for fuel injection in vehicles. Before the housing of these diesel injection pumps can be assembled, they have to be cleaned several times to get rid of particles of dirt and grease. This can take place between the grinding and hardening processing steps, for example. To do so, cleaning machines wash the parts in hot baths, whose temperature was successfully reduced from 60 to 50 degrees Celsius without affecting manufacturing quality. In addition, the hot water generated by the buildings’ air-conditioning systems is today used to heat the baths. This alone makes it possible to save around 100 metric tons of CO2 a year. When no parts are being cleaned, the system automatically switches itself into standby mode. All told, this allows the plant to save around 2,100 megawatt hours of energy a year – approximately the same amount that a medium-sized wind turbine generates in the same period.