Bosch has signed a long-term contract with Cellcentric, the 50% joint venture between the two heavy vehicle giants Daimler Truck is Volvo Group. The alliance provides for the supply of components for fuel cell systems to the two manufacturers, who in this way will be able to bring more sustainable models to the market in the field of long-distance freight transport within the next four to five years. In particular, Bosch’s high-tech component will be used by Cellcentric’s hydrogen-powered system for heavy commercial vehicles and stationary applications. It is an electric compressor capable of supplying the necessary amount of air and is therefore one of the fundamental components of the system.
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“We are also strengthening our commitment to developing this component through fifteen dedicated interdivisional teams – he has declared Uwe Gackstatter, president of the Bosch Powertrain Solutions division -. Thanks to the combination of a high-speed electric motor with integrated power electronics, it allows for competitive production costs “. The fuel cell system provides two power classes for the 20 and 30 kW compressor: the first size is suitable for voltages from 250-450 Volt or 450-850 Volt, while the second is calibrated for voltages from 450 to 850 Volt. The compressor turbine reaches speeds of over 100,000 rpm. The silicon carbide semiconductors used in power electronics also make this component particularly efficient.
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With compressors, the most important technical challenge is being able to increase the economies of scale of high-speed electric motors, which need mass-produced custom air bearings and power electronics. Since the overall technical complexity is comparable to that of a diesel injection system for traditional vehicles, the new systems will have a positive impact on employment, explains Gackstatter: “This promising component secures jobs at the Homburg plant”. Bosch is convinced that hydrogen will have a great future as an energy carrier and therefore is focusing a lot in this area, with a portfolio for vehicles that ranges from single sensors to essential components such as the electric compressor and batteries, but also complete fuel cell modules. Between 2021 and 2024 the German giant will invest about 600 million euros in fuel cell applications for mobility and another 400 million in stationary ones for the generation of electricity and heat.