Bosch plans to use recovered platinum in the production of its fuel cell stacks.

This Week in Power & Motion: Bosch to Use Recovered Platinum for Fuel Cells

Oct. 20, 2023
Bosch plans to recover, recycle and reuse platinum from its fuel cell stacks, Timken expands its bearing portfolio with a new acquisition, and more industry news you may have missed.

There is much going on in the world of hydraulic, pneumatic and electronic motion systems, from technology introductions and industry advancements to new trends and industry leaders. Each week the Power & Motion team collects some of the latest industry news to help keep our readers up to date on what's happening in the fluid power and electronic motion control sectors as well as the industries they serve.

Timken Acquiring Engineered Solutions Group

The Timken Co. will acquire Engineered Solutions Group (also known as Innovative Mechanical Solutions [iMECH]), a developer of bearings, specialty coatings and other components which are primarily used in the energy industry.

This latest acquisition will help Timken further expand its bearing portfolio and market opportunities. 

"The acquisition of iMECH allows us to build on our global leadership in engineered bearings by increasing our product breadth and providing exciting cross-selling opportunities," said Andreas Roellgen, executive vice president and president of Engineered Bearings at Timken, in the company's press release announcing the acquisition. "iMECH partners with the largest and most recognizable energy services companies, delivering highly engineered bearings for extremely demanding applications."

READ MORE: What are the Impacts of Industry Consolidation?

Yanmar Unveils E-Tractor Concept

Heavy equipment manufacturer Yanmar America unveiled its electric tractor (e-tractor) concept during Equipment Expo 2023. This was the first public appearance of the company's electrified machine. 

The tractor is powered by advanced batteries from Yanmar Group's ELEO subsidiary; its modular batteries are designed with integrated safety and efficiency features and allow for flexible configurations to meet various machine and power requirements. Yanmar acquired minority ownership of ELEO in April 2022, and announced at the construction event bauma 2022 its electrification strategy.  

Yanmar's e-tractor concept is a key part of this strategy in which it aims to be a full-system integrator for electrification solutions in the off-highway equipment industry. With this e-tractor, farmers have the potential to not only reduce their emissions but also operating costs as electric machines require less maintenance and fuel costs are eliminated. 

READ MORE: The Current State of Battery Technology

Fortescue Opens Innovation Center for Zero-Emissions Technologies

Fortescue, a large iron ore producer and developer of green energy technologies, has opened a new state-of-the-art technical innovation center in the U.K. This facility will focus on development, testing, and protype production of batteries and zero-emission powertrains for a range of applications including motorsports, mine haul trucks and more. 

With the new technical innovation center, Fortescue aims to expand electrification capabilities for the industries it serves and grow its green energy business. The company expects to employ 300 highly skilled workers at the facility, and more jobs in the coming year. 

This new facility will be the exclusive development and production site for batteries used in teh first generation of Extreme H motorsport vehicles which will use a hydrogen fuel cell combined with a smaller battery. 

In addition, some of the first batteries produced at the facility will be for Fortescue's prototype 240 tonne mining haul trucks which are used in Australia. These batteries are currently undergoing testing and are a key part of the company's efforts to decarbonize mine haul trucks through the use of batteries and hydrogen.   

The company anticipates the facility will have the capacity to produce and test up to 500 prototype battery systems per year with a total production capacity of 50 MWh per year. 

JCB Building New Manufacturing Facility in U.S.

Heavy equipment manufacturer JCB is building a new 720,000 sq. ft. manufacturing facility in San Antonio, TX. The factory will build machines primarily for customers in North America which the company said is a key growth market.

"North America is integral to the growth and success of JCB’s business in the future and the time is now right for JCB to expand its manufacturing presence there," said Graeme Macdonald, JCB CEO, in the company's press release announcing the new factory. "Texas is a vibrant and growing economy, and the state offers great advantages in terms of a central location, as well as good highway and port access. The city of San Antonio also has a well-established skills base, which makes it a very attractive place to set up a factory."

"The growth we’ve experienced in the past few years in North America has been extensive and demand for our products continues to grow," said Richard Fox-Marrs, President & CEO for JCB North America, in the company's press release. "The decision to expand our manufacturing footprint will bring us even closer to our customers and will allow us to further capitalize on market opportunities in North America."

Demand for construction equipment from companies such as JCB is expected to remain strong in the coming years due to the number of infrastructure projects taking place in the U.S. and around the world. And as construction equipment is a top customer market for the fluid power industry, this demand will benefit the hydraulics and pneumatics sector as well. 

This will be JCB's second manufacturing facility in the U.S and is expected to create 1,500 new jobs. Construction is expected to begin in early 2024.

Bosch to Recover Platinum from Fuel Cell Stacks

Bosch has begun production of its fuel cell power module, and with that initiated a plan to recover and reuse the platinum used in its fuel cell stacks. The company says about 95% of the platinum in fuel cell stacks can be recovered; by recycling and reusing that recovered platinum, emissions associated with mining the material can be reduced.

Recovery and reuse of platinum can also help reduce the cost of fuel cells and help ensure a secure supply chain. Demand for platinum is expected to rise in the coming years due to its use in a range of applications and industries, so having the ability to readily access platinum through recovery and recycling will help to meet this increased demand. 

For its first step in this circular supply chain, Bosch has signed an agreement with its customer Hylane which uses Bosch's fuel cell stacks in its hydrogen trucks. Bosch will repurchase the fuel cell stacks once they have reached the end of their useful life. They will be recycled by a third-party company and Bosch will use the recovered platinum for use in new fuel cell stacks for Hylane and other customers. 

This effort to recover and reuse platinum for its fuel cell stacks is part of Bosch's larger goal of reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions 15% from its upstream and downstream value chain by 2030. 

READ MORE: Manufacturers Increase Sustainability Initiatives

About the Author

Sara Jensen | Executive Editor, Power & Motion

Sara Jensen is executive editor of Power & Motion, directing expanded coverage into the modern fluid power space, as well as mechatronic and smart technologies. She has over 15 years of publishing experience. Prior to Power & Motion she spent 11 years with a trade publication for engineers of heavy-duty equipment, the last 3 of which were as the editor and brand lead. Over the course of her time in the B2B industry, Sara has gained an extensive knowledge of various heavy-duty equipment industries — including construction, agriculture, mining and on-road trucks —along with the systems and market trends which impact them such as fluid power and electronic motion control technologies. 

You can follow Sara and Power & Motion via the following social media handles:

X (formerly Twitter): @TechnlgyEditor and @PowerMotionTech

LinkedIn: @SaraJensen and @Power&Motion

Facebook: @PowerMotionTech

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