Bosch Air Quality Messstation

Bosch measuring station helps cities tackle pollution

The global car parts maker said it is working with 100 cities on a two-pronged approach to tackling pollution – electromobility and better traffic planning and management such as steadying flow through junctions.

“We’re focusing on the big picture here,” Dr. Volkmar Denner, chairman of Robert Bosch, said, “and looking at long-term mobility trends, particularly in urban areas.”

Bosch said it is now in talks with over 100 municipalities and regions across Europe with the aim of improving air quality.

The company said: “On the basis of the acceleration and braking patterns of single vehicles, Bosch can reliably extrapolate to the behavior of the total fleet of vehicles on the road and thus to the total current emissions. Bosch is therefore now collecting anonymous data in Stuttgart and neighboring municipalities in order to determine how traffic must change to reduce emissions. It is on this basis that Bosch is advising cities on traffic planning and traffic management. In Stuttgart, for example, at Germany’s busiest traffic junction, Bosch has shown that by maintaining a steady flow of traffic, it is possible to reduce current vehicle emissions by as much as 20%.”

Particulate problems

This is just one of many lines of attack currently being pursued by Bosch. Another is the launch of the e-scooter sharing service COUP. This Bosch subsidiary operates a combined fleet of 5,000 electric scooters, providing locally emissions-free mobility for people in Berlin, Paris, and Madrid. Bosch is also employing pure software solutions to improve air quality. The Triffix app, supplied by the Bosch startup of the same name, provides real-time customised routing information from A to B, including alternative routes, direct from the city’s traffic control center. In so doing, it helps prevent urban traffic from grinding to a halt.

Different cities, different challenges

Poor air quality is not caused by vehicle emissions alone. Industry, agriculture, and the energy sector also contribute to air pollution in varying degrees around the world. Air composition varies sharply from one location to another – as do levels of airborne pollutants such as particulate matter, ozone, sulfur dioxide, and nitrogen oxides. Other factors impacting air quality include chemical processes in the atmosphere triggered by temperature gradients, wind conditions, and solar radiation. For example, sunlight increases ozone concentration, and ozone can react with nitrogen monoxide to form nitrogen dioxide (NO2).

To gain a better understanding of these processes and to collect more data on air pollutants at various locations in urban areas, Bosch has developed a system for measuring pollution. Installed in a compact housing, this technology is currently being trialed in the Stuttgart metropolitan area, Paris, and Marseille. Its purpose is to deliver reliable data on air quality, which can then be used, for example, to map air quality in real time across a city as a basis for more efficient traffic management.

Bosch is using its know-how and considerable financial resources to make cars fit for the future. This involves a two-pronged strategy: advancing the development of electromobility and achieving further refinements to the internal-combustion engine. The aim is to design an internal-combustion engine that no longer makes any appreciable contribution to air pollution in our cities. With the development of new technology for diesel-powered vehicles, Bosch has taken a major step in this direction. This technology, which is now being successively rolled out in production vehicles, will reduce the emission of nitrogen oxides to well below the level of future limits. In other words, nitrogen-oxide emissions from new diesel cars will no longer be relevant. Thanks to the introduction of the particulate filter, this has also been true of particulate emissions from diesel vehicles for quite some time now. Bosch is also pursuing this aim for gasoline engines, and making good progress: modifications to engines and efficient exhaust-gas treatment can bring particulate emissions down to a level roughly 70% lower than the Euro 6d temp standard. In Europe, Bosch no longer carries out any development work for gasoline engines that are not fitted with a particulate filter. At the same time, the company is also seeking to minimize the particulate emissions produced by braking systems. Developments here include the iDisc, which generates as little as ten percent of the brake dust produced by a conventional brake disc, and the regenerative braking system, which can cut brake dust by over 95% in electric vehicles.

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