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BOSCH announces details of its R&D centre developing fuel cell systems

The SOFC fuel cell systems we have developed offer many benefits, including their high electrical efficiency of around 60 percent, the Bosch reported. What’s more, the process heat that is generated when the gaseous fuels are converted into electricity can also be extracted and used – doing so opens up the possibility of achieving overall efficiency of up to 90 percent. A pilot project that is being conducted in the energy facility of our Research and Development Center in Schwieberdingen is also testing how efficiently these systems work in part-load operation when they are used as elements of integrated energy management.

In Schwieberdingen, more than 6,000 research and development associates are shaping the mobility of the future, focusing particularly on the advanced development of vehicle drives and fuels, electromobility, and the associated supply infrastructure. They are also developing control units and software platforms. Powerful IT infrastructure requiring commensurately high levels of energy is installed at the site.

The plan is that our Bosch solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) systems will become permanent elements of the energy supply system at our Research and Development Center, converting gaseous fuels into electricity and heat. The first SOFC units have been operating reliably in the pilot project in Schwieberdingen since 2020. 20 extra units were added in 2023. The development goal is for the fuel cell system to generate around 200 kW of electrical power. There are also plans for a further expansion. In the pilot project, the SOFC units cover part of the baseload power requirements at the site and represent the biggest SOFC field trial so far. During the pilot phase, the SOFC systems are working in conjunction with an existing co-generation plant and are similarly fueled by natural gas. As soon as appropriate infrastructure has been built, the aim is to run a further developed version of the fuel cell systems on green hydrogen that is produced using renewable energy.

A number of goals are being pursued in the pilot project.

  • One of these is to demonstrate how it will be possible to use the technology to generate energy in a highly efficient and decentralized process.
  • Another goal is to show how fuel cell systems fit into an integrated energy system that combines electricity generated from a variety of renewable sources.
  • What’s more, the pilot project is being used to trial the extraction of the process heat that is generated. The fuel cell units emit thermal energy. If this energy is utilized for heating or air conditioning purposes, for example, the overall efficiency of an SOFC system increases to up to 90 percent of the energy used.

Photo of Bosch 

Press release

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