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Posted: Jul 17th, 2012
Bosch Advances Energy Technologies through Research Grants and Internships
(Nanowerk News) Bosch awarded its first round of research grants totaling nearly $1 million and also provided funds for over 40 internships, strengthening its long-standing investment in the development of energy-efficient technologies, as well as its support of leading U.S. universities. After a competitive grant selection process in 2011, the Bosch Energy Research Network (BERN) has awarded seven grants to researchers at five leading U.S. universities, providing seed funding for cutting-edge energy research. As announced last May during the company's 125th anniversary year, Bosch is investing more than $10 million over eight years to support universities and energy research in North America.
BERN is part of the global Bosch InterCampus program, an initiative in which the company will invest about $70 million (50 million euros) to support universities and research programs focused on sustainable energy usage in Germany, China, India and the U.S. over ten years. BERN will fund more than 25 university research grants over its duration, with the goal of developing transformative energy technologies for series production.
Werner Struth, chairman, Robert Bosch LLC and member of the Bosch Board of Management stated: "The Bosch InterCampus program and BERN allow us to work with academia in North America to intensify the development of future energy efficient solutions for the sake of society and actively demonstrating our company's slogan, 'Invented for Life'."
Research grants to reduce energy consumption and environmental impact
Through BERN, Bosch works jointly with leading U.S. universities to accelerate research in important fields such as environment, energy and mobility.
First-round proposals were invited from five institutions: California Institute of Technology; Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Stanford University; University of California, Berkeley; and the University of Michigan. After a two-stage selection process from a pool of 121 initial white papers, Bosch selected seven proposals to receive two-year grants of up to $150,000 per year on topics of energy conversion, energy storage, and energy usage efficiency. Proposals were evaluated on both technical merit and potential impact in the global energy landscape. The selected proposals were:
Band-Structure Designed Photovoltaic Materials aims to develop high-efficiency solar cells based on earth-abundant material with tailored band structures. Principal Investigator: Professor Tonio Buonassisi, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Brushless, Self-Excited Synchronous Field-winding Machine seeks to develop low-cost, high-performance electric motor technology that utilizes exclusively earth-abundant materials. Principal Investigator: Professor Heath Hofmann, University of Michigan.
Coordinated Aggregation of Distributed Resources for the Smart Grid develops architecture and control methods to efficiently manage the future electricity grid, addressing the challenge of increased variability from renewable sources. This will be done by clustering many small, independent units so that they can be controlled in a coherent manner, transforming them into active resources for electric grid management. Principal Investigator: Professor Kameshwar Poolla, University of California, Berkeley.
Illuminated Semiconductor Thermionic Energy Converters for Low-Temperature Heat Harvesting Application utilizes sophisticated micro-electromechanical machining techniques to develop solid-state devices without moving parts that convert heat directly into electricity. One of the major applications of the device is its function as an add-on topping cycle for concentrated solar power stations, thereby increasing their efficiency, and driving their cost down to below current grid-parity levels. Principal Investigator: Professor Roger Howe, Stanford University.
Multi-Scale Modeling of Li-Air Batteries seeks to better understand and enable a future energy storage technology that could provide electric vehicles with driving ranges equivalent to that of combustion-powered vehicles, at costs matching that of the US Department of Energy's long-term goals. Principal Investigators: Professors Donald Siegel and Charles Monroe, University of Michigan.
Nanostructured Sulfur Electrode for Next-Generation Lithium Cell aims to overcome performance and cycle-life limitations in high-energy lithium/sulfur batteries through the development of novel electrode structures and electrolytes. Principal Investigator: Professor Elton Cairns, University of California, Berkeley.
Thermal Conductivity Spectroscopy Using Ultrafast Pump-Probe Techniques for Thermoelectric Energy Conversion investigates the way heat propagates in thermoelectric materials usable for directly converting heat into electricity. The project involves development of new ways of using lasers to detect thermal processes on the nanoscale with unprecedented accuracy. Principal Investigator: Professor Austin Minnich, California Institute of Technology.
"The mission of the BERN project is to closely partner with leading research universities and provide support for early-stage transformational energy research. Through our investment in research grants and internships, Bosch is quickening the pace of discovery in this area, reinforcing its commitment to social responsibility, and helping develop students and support researchers," said Aleksandar Kojic, BERN project director.
Internship Opportunities for future energy leaders
BERN also promotes advancements in energy technologies by providing internship opportunities at various Bosch sites throughout North America for future engineers and leaders in advancing development of energy-efficient products and practices. Recruited from 13 universities, in 2011 and 2012, Bosch offered more than 40 internship positions at Bosch locations in San Mateo, Calif.; Farmington Hills, Mich.; Bethlehem, Pa.; Pittsburgh, Pa.; Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; Charleston, S.C., among others. BERN interns, working alongside Bosch associates, help develop market strategies for solar energy, increase efficiency and reduce emissions from automotive engines, reduce overall energy consumption in the company's manufacturing plants, investigate smart grid technologies, among other topics. Bosch will offer 200 BERN internships in energy topics over the course of the eight-year program.
Global commitment to research propels innovative solutions
Almost half of Bosch's $5.8 billion 2011 R&D budget is focused on products that help conserve resources and protect the environment.
Nearly 38,500 Bosch researchers and developers design, test and research innovative systems, components and methods worldwide; this number is expected to grow to 43,000 by the end of 2012. Approximately 2,500 Bosch researchers are located in North and South America. The BERN program is managed by the Bosch Research and Technology Center (RTC) in North America. With locations in Palo Alto, Calif., Pittsburgh, Pa. and Cambridge, Mass., RTC covers a wide spectrum of research topics ranging from user interaction, software, advanced circuits and wireless systems to energy technologies. For further information on the BERN program as well as updates on activities, visit www.bernprogram.com.
In the U.S., Canada and Mexico, the Bosch Group manufactures and markets automotive original equipment and aftermarket products, industrial drives and control technology, power tools, security and communication systems, packaging technology, thermotechnology, household appliances, solar energy, healthcare telemedicine and software solutions. Having established a regional presence in 1906, Bosch employs over 22,500 associates in more than 100 locations, with sales of $9.8 billion in fiscal year 2011. For more information, visit www.boschusa.com.
The Bosch Group is a leading global supplier of technology and services. More than 300,000 associates generated sales of 51.5 billion euros ($71.7 billion) in the areas of automotive and industrial technology, consumer goods, and building technology in fiscal year 2011. The Bosch Group comprises Robert Bosch GmbH and its more than 350 subsidiaries and regional companies in some 60 countries. If its sales and service partners are included, then Bosch is represented in roughly 150 countries. This worldwide development, manufacturing, and sales network is the foundation for further growth. Bosch spent more than 4 billion euros ($5.8 billion) for research and development in 2011, and applied for over 4,100 patents worldwide. With all its products and services, Bosch enhances the quality of life by providing solutions which are both innovative and beneficial. Further information is available online at www.bosch.com .