Bosch to Manufacture Fuel Cell Stacks in South Carolina
Bosch, a leader in powertrain and propulsion technologies, announced on 31 Aug that it will produce fuel cell stacks in its Anderson, South Carolina, facility as part of a more than $200 million investment expected to create at least 350 new jobs by the start of production in 2026.
As part of Bosch’s local manufacturing strategy, the fuel cell stacks produced in Anderson will drive hydrogen-powered trucks coming to the roads of the U.S. in the next few years. A fuel cell operates by using hydrogen to generate electrical energy.
“The hydrogen economy holds great promise and at Bosch we are all in,” said Mike Mansuetti, president of Bosch in North America. “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 expands its deep manufacturing presence in South Carolina
The development of the new production process in Anderson was supported locally with assistance from the state of South Carolina as well as Anderson County.
“Helping Bosch to be among the first to commercialize fuel cell stack production in the U.S. speaks to the strength of our manufacturing industry and workforce. We are grateful for Bosch’s commitment to our state and look forward to strengthening our partnership,” said South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster.
The Bosch Anderson facility has already begun work on the expansion to support fuel cell technology. Capital upgrades to the Anderson campus include an estimated 147,000 square feet of floorspace to be developed to manufacture the fuel cell stack as well as supporting clean room and climate-controlled environments required for quality-critical processes.
“Fuel cells have been a promising technology for many years, and it is fitting that this technology is coming to South Carolina where our manufacturing strength has helped many companies bring new innovations to the market,” said South Carolina Secretary of Commerce Harry M. Lightsey III. “Congratulations to Bosch for another successful expansion in Anderson County!”
Bosch has a long presence in Anderson, where it started producing fuel rails 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.
“The investment and jobs provided by this new technology are significant for Anderson County and for our long-standing collaboration with Bosch as one of the largest local employers,” said Chairman of the Anderson County Council Tommy Dunn.
Complex technology requires local commercialization expertise
Multiple manufacturers have announced plans for hydrogen-powered vehicles in the U.S. market. For example, Nikola Corporation has been pilot testing prototype Class 8 fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEV) featuring Bosch technology. The company recently completed a program highlighting its Tre FCEV Alpha Pilot with Anheuser-Busch in California. These prototype trucks logged over 12,000 miles and hauled 2 million pounds of freight. Nikola also has active pilot testing of prototype FCEV vehicles with Total Transportation Services Inc.
“As our success in acquiring e-mobility business here in the region continues, it’s critical that we have local production capabilities to support our local customers,” said Mansuetti, who previously served as technical plant manager for Bosch in Anderson earlier in his career. “For years, the Anderson associates have developed expertise in producing electronics and sensors, competencies that are very applicable to the fuel cell stack.”
Fuel cell stack production is highly complex. One stack consists of 3,200 individual parts assembled, more than 400 layers and more than 100 unique components. Fuel cell stack production in Anderson will expand on Bosch’s existing global production for fuel cell stacks, including critical sub-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 said. “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.”
Bosch 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 USD globally to develop mobile fuel cell technologies by 2024. The company previously announced a collaboration with Powercell to develop the fuel cell stack. The goal has been a high-performance solution that can be manufactured at high volume and a market-competitive cost.
Press release edited by Suzanna Hayek