Bosch launches production of hydrogen fuel-cell technology in the U.S. by investing more than $200 million in fuel-cell stack production at its plant in Anderson, SC.
The investment is expected to create at least 350 jobs by the start of production in 2026.
Stacks are at the heart of fuel-cell modules that provide electricity to power Class 8 heavy-duty trucks, allowing them to operate free of carbon-dioxide emissions. Fuel-cell technology is an alternative to larger and heavier battery-electric powertrains, Bosch says.
“The hydrogen economy holds great promise, and at Bosch, we are all in,” Mike Mansuetti, president of Bosch in North America, says in a statement. “This is a significant milestone as we announce the first fuel-cell-related production for Bosch in the U.S. to support the growing demand from our local customers as part of a diverse approach to powertrain technology.”
Bosch already has begun work on the expansion to support fuel-cell technology at the Anderson plant. Capital upgrades include an estimated 147,000 sq.-ft. (13,660 sq.-m) of floorspace where the fuel-cell stacks will be manufactured, as well as supporting clean-room and climate-controlled environments.
Fuel-cell stack production in Anderson will expand on Bosch’s existing global production for fuel-cell stacks, including critical sub-components. One stack consists of 3,200 individual parts assembled, more than 400 layers and more than 100 unique components.
“In order to successfully bring fuel-cell technology to market in mass scale, it requires a combination of extensive experience in research and development, systems integration and complex manufacturing process,” Mansuetti says. “Bosch is unique in its ability in all these areas. The work we have already done in commercializing fuel-cell technology builds on our extensive experience in developing and manufacturing products for the internal-combustion engine at scale.”
The supplier started producing fuel rails in Anderson in 1985. Its operations have expanded to multiple products within the Bosch Mobility Solutions business sector, including sensors and electronic control units for the powertrain.
A number of hydrogen-powered vehicles are planned for the U.S. market. Nikola has been pilot-testing prototype Class 8 fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) incorporating Bosch technology. Nikola recently completed a program highlighting its Tre FCEV Alpha Pilot with Anheuser-Busch in California. These prototype trucks logged over 12,000 miles (19,320 km) and hauled 2 million pounds (907,200 kg) of freight.
Bosch says it will be one of the first to market with large-scale production to support hydrogen-powered commercial vehicles. The company recently announced it would invest more than $1 billion globally to develop mobile fuel-cell technologies by 2024.