With a proposed award from the California Energy Commission, Robert Bosch LLC plans to demonstrate the effectiveness of its renewable-based microgrid platform. The project aims to highlight the benefits and viability of a commercial-scale direct-current (DC) building grid, in comparison with conventional alternating-current (AC) grids. The DC building grid will consist of rooftop solar PV arrays connected to energy-efficient DC lighting, ventilation, and energy storage systems on a 380-volt DC bus.
Transforming a Honda America Parts Plant to Zero-Net-Energy
The California Energy Commission funds will provide an opportunity for Bosch to demonstrate a low-cost, highly energy-efficient microgrid solution. Designed to demonstrate a cost-effective approach to transforming commercial buildings to zero-net-energy users, this innovative Bosch DC microgrid will be installed at an American Honda Motor Co., Inc., (NYSE: HMC) parts distribution plant in California.
The Honda parts distribution center helps support more than 16 major North American Honda manufacturing facilities. Producing automobiles in America for more than 30 years, in 2014, 98 percent of all Honda brand vehicles sold in the U.S. were made in North America.
The Bosch Group: A Leading Global Supplier
The Bosch Group includes Robert Bosch GmbH (RBOS) and over 360 subsidiaries and regional companies in nearly 50 countries. A leading global supplier of technology and services, the Bosch Group operations supply four business sectors: Consumer Goods, Mobility Solutions, Industrial Technology, and Energy and Building Technology. According to preliminary 2014 numbers, nearly 290,000 associates brought in sales of 48.9 billion euros, or 65 billion USD.
Establishing a North American presence in 1906, the Bosch Group now employs around 25,000 associates in more than 100 locations. According to preliminary 2014 figures, Bosch’s consolidated sales in the US, Canada, and Mexico reached $11.3 billion. All together, including sales and service partners, Bosch is represented in roughly 150 countries. With a worldwide development, manufacturing, and sales network, the foundation is set for further growth. And growth is well underway. In 2014 alone, Bosch applied for around 4,600 patents worldwide.
Contributing to California’s Carbon Reduction Goals
Oliver Steinig, vice president of business development for Robert Bosch LLC, said in a recent statement, “We are confident the Bosch DC microgrid system will contribute to California’s carbon reduction and energy efficiency goals by increasing the reliability and utilization of distributed renewable energy.” Steinig continued, noting that the grid will improve “the energy efficiency of state-of-the-art technologies – such as LED lighting paired with advanced lighting controls, motors with variable frequency drives and energy storage systems – by operating them on DC power.”
The Bosch DC building grid integrates multiple advanced technologies to provide a stable source of electricity to the loads on the grid. Resilience during grid outages will also be built-in, as well as increased renewable energy usage. Performance data will be collected and analyzed once the project is installed and launched. Cost savings, energy efficiency increases, and the technological capabilities of the advanced microgrid energy management system will be monitored and validated.
A Complete Supply Chain Under Development
The project is expected to greatly enhance the technical knowledge required to refine and integrate distributed renewable energy generation into California’s distribution infrastructure. Also, anticipating broad-scale adoption of Bosch’s cost-effective and energy-efficient DC grid architecture, a complete supply chain for system integration is already in development through various partnerships.
Technical experts with established track records of success in developing and delivering relevant technologies will be participating as partners in the project. that can be incorporated into advanced microgrids will participate in the project. To ensure optimal design, engineering, and performance validation expertise for the Bosch DC microgrid, partnerships have been formed with Navigant Consulting and the California Lighting Technology Center (CLTC), Maxwell Technologies, and Imergy Power Systems for the complete technology supply chain.
An international professional services firm, Navigant Consulting (NYSE: NCI) specializes in “assisting clients in creating and protecting value in the face of critical business risks and opportunities.” The CLTC, a part of the University of California, Davis, is a not-for-profit research, development, and demonstration facility dedicated to accelerating the development and commercialization of next-generation, energy-efficient lighting and daylighting technologies.”
Maxwell is a global leader in the “development and manufacture of innovative, cost-effective energy storage and power delivery solutions.” Headquartered in Fremont, California, Imergy Power Systems is a leader in “stationary energy storage solutions using innovative flow battery technology. Its proven Energy Storage Platform (ESP) provides a total solution to reduce energy cost and optimize renewable power generation while improving overall power reliability.”
A Three-Year Project Set To Start Immediately
The California Energy Commission award is in the amount of $2,817,566. Additionally, Bosch and its partners have jointly provided $1,790,095 in in-kind and matching funds to assist in project development, planning, and execution. Once the contract with the California Energy Commission is signed, the Bosch renewable-based DC microgrid project is scheduled to begin immediately, and to conclude by February, 2018.