BMW Group Plant Leipzig has launched the first fuel-flexible hydrogen-capable burner for paint dryers—the first car plant in the world to do so. The system can run on hydrogen (H2), methane (CH4) or a mixture of the two. It can also switch between fuels while in operation.
Initially, it will run in trial operations. The fuel-flexible burner system was developed in collaboration with the Bremen-based combustion plant company Saacke, and with the Fraunhofer Institute IFF in Magdeburg supporting the integration of the safety concept.
BMW Group Plant Leipzig: A flexible-fuel hydrogen-capable burner in the paintshop. The right-most vertical pipe carries hydrogen (Wasserstoff); the vertical pipe to its left carries natural gas (Erdgas).
To run hydrogen throughout, a pipeline will be needed to ensure sufficient quantities of green hydrogen are available at all times. The Leipzig plant has the opportunity to use a hydrogen network created in the region for this purpose.
Hydrogen has long been a staple fuel in plant logistics. The first indoor hydrogen filling station in Germany was installed on the plant premises in 2013, to fuel forklifts and tug trains in intralogistics. Today, almost ten years later, Plant Leipzig has the largest fleet in Germany with over 130 fuel-cell powered forklifts. There are also five intralogistics hydrogen stations on the premises. The latest offers fully automated refuelling.
Reducing CO2 emissions is one of the central aims of the BMW iFACTORY with its LEAN. GREEN. DIGITAL approach. While sustainability, optimum use of resources and circularity are the focus of GREEN, the LEAN strand of the strategy works for efficient, precise and highly flexible production. DIGITAL makes effective use of digitalization in data science, artificial intelligence and virtualization.
To become more sustainable, the BMW Group is devising site-specific solutions to reduce CO2 emissions—including geothermal, photovoltaics, and hydrogen. The various solutions will be deployed in whatever way best suits the site in question.