Since early November, the cars chauffeuring the management board members of Robert Bosch GmbH have been running on fully renewable diesel. Known as “C.A.R.E. diesel,” this fuel is synthesised mainly from by-products and waste materials.
The supplier Toolfuel claims that C.A.R.E. diesel reduces the CO2 emissions of these cars by around two-thirds, or 65%, from well to wheel.
“Renewable and synthetic fuels can contribute greatly to limiting global warming. Their use has a much faster ecological impact than replacing vehicles and infrastructure, as existing filling stations can remain in operation,” says Dr. Volkmar Denner, CEO of Robert Bosch GmbH. For him, the consequences are clear: “Synthetic and renewable fuels should be factored into the CO2 fleet regulation for passenger cars and trucks.”
Since C.A.R.E. diesel has yet to be included in the German law on the prevention of airborne pollution, it is not currently available at regular filling stations. In its trials with fully renewable diesel, Bosch wants to show if and how it could be adopted on a broad scale.
Since it accounts for 18% of global CO2 emissions, road traffic also contributes to the greenhouse effect. On the upside, there has been some progress. In Germany, the CO2 emissions of newly registered vehicles have fallen by one quarter since 2007. On the downside, the CO2 emitted by traffic on European roads is rising again.
One reason for this is the shrinking share of newly registered diesel vehicles. They have a great advantage over gasoline models when it comes to CO2 emissions. Compared with its gasoline variant, a diesel model’s carbon footprint is around 15% lower on average.
“We need diesel and other solutions such as renewable and synthetic fuels in addition to electromobility to further reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” Denner says. If renewable and synthetic fuels were widely used by European passenger cars, this alone could save up to 2.8 gigatons of CO2 by 2050, and that is without electrification factored into the equation. This is three times the amount of carbon dioxide Germany emitted in 2016.
Bosch has been exploring renewable and synthetic fuels for some time now. The company’s fuel-carrying components for diesel engines, such as the fuel pump and injection nozzles, have been rigorously tested, and vehicle manufacturers are free to approve them for use with renewable and synthetic fuels.
Bosch is approaching future powertrain technology with an open mind. The company is committed to a vision of virtually emissions-free driving. While it will continue to improve the internal-combustion engine, it also aims to become a leader in the market for electromobility.
After years of research and development effort, Bosch presented a new diesel technology in April 2018. It is capable of cutting NOx emissions from diesel vehicles to well below the statutory 120 milligram-per-kilometre limit that will come into effect in 2020 – and it can do so in any real traffic conditions. These results were achieved in test vehicles with heavily modified engine and emission settings. The vehicles were also equipped with leading-edge technology and components, just recently introduced to the market.
A combination of advanced fuel-injection technology, a newly developed air management system, and intelligent temperature management made such low readings possible. Bosch customers can now tap this system know-how to develop future lines of mass-manufactured vehicles.