BMW Group Brings Hydrogen Technological Breakthrough to Its Leipzig Plant

BMW Group Plant Leipzig pilots flexible hydrogen-capable burners 7 photos
Photo: BMW Group
BMW Group plant LeipzigPetra Peterhansel, Managing Director BMW Group Plant LeipzigBMW Group iFactory, Milan Nedeljkovic, BMW AG Member of the Board of ManagementFlexible-fuel hydrogen-capable burnerBMW Group Plant Leipzig: Hydrogen lineFrom the left: Jens Götze (BMW Group); Petra Peterhansel, Director BMW Group Plant Leipzig; Burkhard Jung, Mayor of Leipzig
BMW is at the top of the innovation game when it comes to vehicle production. The brand’s Leipzig Plant is the first car plant in the world to pilot newly developed paintshop burner technology (the first of its kind), allowing paint dryers to run on both green hydrogen and natural gas.
This is a technological breakthrough. It underscores our innovativeness and our determination to make production ever more sustainable,” said Milan Nedeljkovic, BMW AG Board Member.

Besides the fact that it can run on both hydrogen and methane, the system can also combine the two fuel types or even switch between them while in operation. BMW teamed up with Bremen-based, low-emission combustion plant developer Saacke, along with the Fraunhofer Institute IFF in Magdeburg, to develop the new fuel-flexible burner system, which will initially run on trial operations.

Since the Leipzig region is home to a green hydrogen network, it was the perfect opportunity for the BMW plant to use it for its new technology.

In the grand scheme of things, the Bavarian carmaker is looking for new ways to reduce CO2 emissions in its manufacturing process (like many other industry players), which is one of the central aims of BMW’s iFACTORY strategy. With it, the brand will redefine automotive production, focusing on three key aspects: LEAN, GREEN, and DIGITAL.

These three will help create a global production network that’s both integrative and scalable, addressing future challenges. The LEAN component of the brand’s vision is for efficient, precise, and highly flexible production. GREEN focuses on sustainability, optimum use of resources, and circularity. At the same time, DIGITAL stands for digitalization in data science, artificial intelligence, and virtualization.

BMW Group is also working with its partners to trial hydrogen-powered logistics transport solutions since this type of gas is a promising fuel, offering flexible usability, extensive range, and fast refueling.
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