Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

green hydrogen water treatment bosch
Bosch ups the ante on green hydrogen with new water treatment technology for electrolysis systems.

Clean Power

Bosch Pumps Up New Green Hydrogen Water Treatment Technology

Bosch ups the ante on green hydrogen with new water treatment technology for electrolysis systems.

Sign up for daily news updates from CleanTechnica on email. Or follow us on Google News!

Low cost wind and solar power have created an opportunity for green hydrogen to play an important role in global decarbonization, but there is a catch. The water needed to produce hydrogen needs to be pure, and purity comes at a cost. Driving those costs down is a next-level challenge for hydrogen stakeholders, and the legacy German engineering firm Bosch is among those up for it.

CleanTechnica will be reporting on Bosch Tech Day 2023 in Germany this week as a guest of the company.

The Green Hydrogen Opportunity

Hydrogen is a zero emission fuel when used to generate electricity in a fuel cell. However, tailpipe emissions are just the end of the hydrogen supply chain. Hydrogen is abundant in nature, but it is not naturally found alone. It has to be extracted from something else. Until recently, the primary source has been natural gas, along with coal to a lesser extent.

Renewable energy has flipped the script by driving down the cost of electrolysis, in which an electrical current is used to push hydrogen from water.

Hydrogen can return the favor because it is a transportable energy storage medium as well as an input for fuel cells. Excess energy from a wind farm or solar array can be put to use for electrolysis, potentially creating a more value-rich environment for investors.

Wind and solar can also bring electrolysis systems to remote areas where water is available but grid connections are not. The green hydrogen can be used on site or shipped out by truck, rail, pipeline or ship.

Water electrolysis currently accounts for just a small fraction of the global hydrogen supply, but demand is growing as the global economy decouples from fossil fuels.

The use cases for hydrogen go far beyond fuel cell electric vehicles to include some of the most important industrial sectors in the global economy, including ammonia fertilizer as well as food processing, pharmaceuticals, metallurgy, and refining. Even if fuel cell EVs fade into the dustbin of history, demand for hydrogen will continue to grow.

Bosch Takes The Green Hydrogen Plunge

Bosch has been pivoting into new technologies ever since its founding in 1886, so it’s no surprise to see green hydrogen playing the featured role in Bosch Tech Day 2023, taking place on July 13 in Stuttgart.

A new water treatment system for electrolysis is among the hydrogen technologies Bosch has been previewing in advance of Tech Day. The system represents yet another new expansion of Bosch’s business, with a twist.

“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,” Bosch explained in a press release last week.

We’ll get more details on that when we visit Bosch this week. In the meantime, the offshore angle is of interest due to new opportunities for locating electrolysis systems, provided by the offshore wind industry.

Co-locating electrolysis systems with wind farms offers the potential for efficiency enhancements, by shortening the distance between power generation and the end user. Offshore systems also relieve developers from seeking space on land. Hydrogen from the operation could be shipped or pipe-lined to shore, or it could be used for seagoing refueling operations on site.

That may seem like a pipe dream over here in the US, where offshore wind activity has been slow on the uptake. Elsewhere around the globe it’s a different story, with the latest renewable energy hotspot to emerge being the Baltic Sea.

More Water For Hydrogen

Also relevant to the offshore area is new research demonstrating the potential for extracting hydrogen directly from seawater, without piling on treatment steps. However, that could involve a pretty long leap from the lab to commercial markets. In the meantime, the cost of treating seawater has been sinking alongside improvements in the efficiency of reverse osmosis systems, with the US Navy among those driving the trend.

Bosch anticipates bringing its water treatment systems to market next year. “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,” Bosch explained.

“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,” added Dr. Stefan Hartung, the chairman of the Bosch board of management.

The Heat Pump Connection

Although green hydrogen is the star of Tech Day 2023, no mention of Bosch is complete without touching on heat pumps, which are emerging as one of the foundational underpinnings of a low carbon economy.

Bosch’s home appliance business set the stage for its heat pump journey, which began to take form during the energy crisis of the 1970’s. The company’s Junkers division produced a water-enabled heat pump as a prototype in 1975, to be used for heating and hot water. Bosch followed up with the unveiling of the Trithermun experimental house in 1976, which sported solar collectors and a gas-fired backup system in addition to a heat pump.

“The house provided engineers with vital insights into the optimum use of different heat sources and how to link them up. Today, heat pumps and solar collectors play an essential role in new buildings,” Bosch explains.

Under the rebrand as Bosch Home Comfort Group, the heat pump solutions still include a hybrid system with gas backup. As viewed by Bosch, the best-case scenario for heat pumps is a new building baked with energy efficiency enhancements. The hybrid approach is designed as an affordable alternative for legacy buildings that would otherwise require a soup-to-nuts makeover.

The green hydrogen angle could offer the potential to operate heat pumps entirely on renewables in older buildings, so we’ll be asking Bosch about that, too. Meanwhile, the company is not letting any grass grow beneath its feet. Bosch has spent the past several years ramping up its heat pump resources in Europe. In the latest development, last April Bosch announced an investment of  more than 1 billion euros in European manufacturing sites by 2030.

That could happen sooner rather than later. Bosch is already aiming to spend 255 million euros of the total on a new manufacturing plant in Poland, with construction beginning next year and production to follow sometime between 2025 and 2026.

Find me on Threads @tinamcasey. Also Post @tinamcasey, or @TinaMCasey on LinkedIn and Spoutible, or @Casey on Mastadon.

Photo: New water treatment technology for green hydrogen, courtesy of Bosch.

Have a tip for CleanTechnica? Want to advertise? Want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.

EV Obsession Daily!

I don't like paywalls. You don't like paywalls. Who likes paywalls? Here at CleanTechnica, we implemented a limited paywall for a while, but it always felt wrong — and it was always tough to decide what we should put behind there. In theory, your most exclusive and best content goes behind a paywall. But then fewer people read it!! So, we've decided to completely nix paywalls here at CleanTechnica. But...
Like other media companies, we need reader support! If you support us, please chip in a bit monthly to help our team write, edit, and publish 15 cleantech stories a day!
Thank you!

Tesla Sales in 2023, 2024, and 2030

CleanTechnica uses affiliate links. See our policy here.
Written By

Tina specializes in military and corporate sustainability, advanced technology, emerging materials, biofuels, and water and wastewater issues. Views expressed are her own. Follow her on Twitter @TinaMCasey and Spoutible.


You May Also Like

Clean Transport

Failure to meet demand for zero-emission trucks would present opportunity for Tesla and BYD, T&E says.

Clean Power

Sign up for daily news updates from CleanTechnica on email. Or follow us on Google News! The Department of Energy (DOE) is playing a...

Cap And Trade

For projects expected to be built in 2030 in the EU, they have to account for the carbon dioxide and equivalent emissions at around...

Consumer Technology

A consortium of US states and territories just announced a commitment to deploy 20 million heat pumps by 2030. Here’s why that matters.

Copyright © 2023 CleanTechnica. The content produced by this site is for entertainment purposes only. Opinions and comments published on this site may not be sanctioned by and do not necessarily represent the views of CleanTechnica, its owners, sponsors, affiliates, or subsidiaries.