Bosch sets sights on hydrogen 'for a low-emissions future'

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Updated Jan 9, 2024
Bosch hydrogen engine
Bosch is currently working on components for a hydrogen engine, which converts fuel directly into energy without first converting it into electricity.

Bosch, at the 2024 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas Monday, said it was working on components for a hydrogen engine, which would convert fuel directly into energy without first converting it into electricity. When powered by green liquid hydrogen, this engine is practically carbon neutral, Bosch claimed of the H2 combustion engine set to debut this year.

Alongside electrification, Bosch sees hydrogen as key to meeting global energy demand in a resource-efficient way. As a storage medium hydrogen can facilitate the efficient use of energy generated from renewable sources, and Bosch is investing extensively in technologies along the hydrogen value chain. The current focus is a mobile fuel cell that recently went into volume production in Stuttgart, Germany. This lies at the heart of the powertrain system for heavy vehicles and Bosch has already received its first orders from truck manufacturers in Europe, the U.S., and China. 

"To help us meet our global energy needs in a resource-efficient way, Bosch is focusing on digitalization, electrification and hydrogen," said Tanja RĂĽckert, member of the board of management and CDO of the Bosch Group. "For a low-emissions future, we are optimizing the use of traditional energy sources by driving forward electrification in mobility, commercial buildings and homes. And we are tapping into new, sustainable energy sources – with hydrogen playing a central role."

Bosch hydrogen fuel cellBosch's mobile fuel cell recently went into volume production at its Feuerbach plant. Bosch has already received its first orders from truck manufacturers in Europe, the U.S., and China.

[Related: Hydrogen partnerships springing up across the U.S. could accelerate fuel cell adoption]

According to the Department of Energy, there are 59 open retail hydrogen stations in the U.S. as of 2023. There are at least 50 stations in various stages of planning or construction as the U.S. government pushes ahead with the development of H2 infrastructure and is investing $7 billion dollars in the construction of hydrogen hubs. Most of the existing and planned stations in the U.S. are in California, with one in Hawaii and five planned for the northeastern states, according to the DOE.

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“The H2 hubs are an important building block for establishing a hydrogen infrastructure," said Mike Mansuetti, president of Bosch in North America. "We at Bosch support these measures and are exploring participation in several of these hubs. Our goal is to help drive forward the clean-energy economy in North America. This is an area where we can contribute our expertise in the production and provisioning of hydrogen."

While electrification is trucking's current next big thing, hydrogen is simmering beneath the surface. Nikola said the company last year produced 42 and wholesaled 35 Class 8 Nikola hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs).

Jason Cannon has written about trucking and transportation for more than a decade and serves as Chief Editor of Commercial Carrier Journal. A Class A CDL holder, Jason is a graduate of the Porsche Sport Driving School, an honorary Duckmaster at The Peabody in Memphis, Tennessee, and a purple belt in Brazilian jiu jitsu. Reach him at [email protected].