Company offers custom technology for the worldwide use of electrolyzers in hydrogen production
• Bosch systems enable economical and environmentally friendly water treatment.
• With its water treatment systems, Bosch is expanding its portfolio to include an essential element of the production and use of hydrogen.
• The market launch for the systems is scheduled for 2024.
• The technological approach to water treatment will be presented at the Bosch Tech Day 2023.
“A climate-neutral world won’t work without green hydrogen,” says Dr. Stefan Hartung, chairman of the Bosch board of management. Bosch is now expanding its business to include technology for water treatment. In addition to systems using the usual water treatment method of reverse osmosis, Bosch also plans to offer new solutions specifically engineered for remote areas and offshore locations. “Above all, the production of green hydrogen requires ultrapure water.
With our special-purpose systems, water treatment can be done anywhere, even in the most remote areas of the world, in an economical and environmentally friendly way,” Hartung says. The systems designed by Bosch Manufacturing Solutions are not only robust and low maintenance, but compared to solutions commonly available on the market, they eliminate the need for chemicals in water treatment. With its entry into this new business field, Bosch is closing the circle and rounding off its range of products and services: “We’re developing technology for water treatment as well as for the generation, compression, storage, and use of hydrogen – and doing so for various sectors. Hardly any other company offers such a broad portfolio,” Hartung says.
Water treatment forms the first and most fundamental link in the hydrogen value chain. Bosch has developed the water treatment technology for electrolysis at its locations in Renningen, Stuttgart-Feuerbach, and Ceské Budejovice, and external pilot projects are to be added in the course of this year. The market launch for the systems is planned for 2024, and Bosch will be presenting the technology at the Bosch Tech Day in Stuttgart-Feuerbach on July 13, 2023.
“We’re developing technology for water treatment as well as for the generation, compression, storage, and use of hydrogen – and doing so for various sectors. Hardly any other company offers such a broad portfolio” says Dr. Stefan Hartung, chairman of the Bosch board of management.
Special-purpose water treatment systems for the toughest conditions
Electrolyzers require ultrapure water for the production of hydrogen. “Impurities in the water can render electrolyzers inoperative in a very short time,” explains Dr. Wolfgang Schleifenbaum, head of the Hydrogen business unit at Bosch Manufacturing Solutions. In the future, hydrogen will be produced in areas with strong winds or abundant sunshine – Africa, South America, or Northern Europe, for example. Locations offshore or in the desert present particular challenges: considerable distances from the technical facilities, water high in salt or minerals – all make water treatment more difficult. As a result, demand for special equipment is high: Bosch expects that starting in 2035, some 500 of the company’s special-purpose water treatment systems will be needed worldwide each year.
The Bosch systems remove minerals from the water by means of thermal and electrochemical processes to obtain ultrapure water. Thanks to a treatment process without filter media, it is possible for operators to completely dispense with the use of chemicals. “Green hydrogen is sustainable only if its production doesn’t cause collateral damage to the environment; for example, by putting chemicals into our already heavily polluted waters,” Schleifenbaum explains. For predictive maintenance of the equipment, even from far away, Bosch offers software solutions that ensure robust operation in harsh environmental conditions.
Industrial systems for water treatment in developed areas
The demand for ultrapure water for the world’s hydrogen projects is enormous. As the world strives to achieve the Paris climate targets, Bosch estimates that, starting in 2050, annual demand for the water used in electrolysis will amount to some four cubic kilometers – more than the volume of Germany’s Lake Starnberg. Germany, too, has ambitious plans: the government has set a goal of installing H2 electrolyzers with a total capacity of 10 gigawatts by 2030 (source: German government, 2022). The EU aims to install 40 gigawatts of electrolysis capacity in Europe by 2030, with plans to produce up to ten million metric tons of renewable hydrogen (source: European Commission, 2020). “Hydrogen will play a crucial role in the energy supply of the future. Industries worldwide must use hydrogen if they want to become climate neutral. Bosch supplies water treatment technology that meets different requirements with regard to the size, performance, and location of the electrolyzers,” Schleifenbaum says. For water treatment in developed areas, Bosch plans to expand its portfolio to include industrial systems that use reverse-osmosis processes and ion exchangers to turn tap water into the ultrapure water electrolyzers need. With this combination of industrial and special purpose equipment, Bosch fulfills the requirements for electrolysis projects worldwide.
Water treatment with Bosch technology – “Invented for life”
Bosch technologies also help maintain valuable drinking water reserves. The Bosch system is particularly efficient, reducing the feedwater required for producing water for the electrolysis process by up to one-third compared to common solutions on the market. In addition to producing water for electrolysis, the special-purpose systems can also be adapted to produce drinking water. “With our water treatment systems, we follow the Bosch guideline and offer technology that is ‘Invented for life.’ In areas where drinking water is scarce, we can use our technology to help improve the supply,” Schleifenbaum says.