"It’s part of our ongoing effort to implement a broad portfolio of environmental initiatives across our European plants that are aimed at further reducing the CO2 footprint from our manufacturing operations," said Wolfgang Schneider, vice president, Governmental and Environmental Affairs, Ford of Europe.
Five years ago, Ford’s Dagenham Diesel Centre in the UK became the first automotive plant to meet all its electricity needs from on-site turbines. The automaker says a third turbine will come online next year, following the installation of a new 1.4/1.6-litre Duratorq TDCi engine production line, which will allow the plant to be 100 percent powered by wind.
To create true zero emission technology, electricity must come from renewable source, and now Ford is taking the lead with wind energy.
Two new wind turbines at the company’s Genk Plant (Belgium) complement Ford of Europe’s Green Energy Initiative. Dagenham Diesel Centre (UK) is ready to install a third turbine to achieve full power supply through wind energy. Ford Cologne Plant (Germany) and the European Ford Technical Centres in Dunton (UK) and Cologne-Merkenich (Germany) powered by renewable energy.
While Ford vehicles are among the most environmentally efficient on the road, the company’s commitment to a ‘greener’ future is reaching beyond its products and into many areas of its business operations.
On November 16, two gigantic wind turbines, each with a height of 150 metres, spun into action producing ‘green’ electricity for the Genk plant in Belgium. Installed by local energy company, Electrabel, each unit has an output of two megawatts of power, enough to power 2,500 private homes. The wind turbines will deliver a significant part of the electrical power needed in the Genk Plant, production home of the Mondeo, S-MAX and Galaxy models.
"It’s part of our ongoing effort to implement a broad portfolio of environmental initiatives across our European plants that are aimed at further reducing the CO2 footprint from our manufacturing operations," explained Wolfgang Schneider, vice president, Governmental and Environmental Affairs, Ford of Europe.
Genk is not the only Ford of Europe plant to use electricity generated by wind turbines. Five years ago, the Dagenham Diesel Centre in the UK became the world’s first automotive plant to meet all its electricity needs from two giant on-site turbines.
A third turbine is expected to come into service in Dagenham in 2010, allowing the plant to remain 100 per cent powered by wind-generated electricity, following the installation of a new 1.4/1.6-litre Duratorq TDCi engine production line. A new three-bladed turbine, provided by Ecotricity, will be commissioned to produce two megawatts of electricity, enough to power more than 1,000 homes.
A few miles away from Dagenham, Ford’s Dunton Technical Centre is also powered by electricity from renewable sources. Since March last year, electric power on the 270-acre site, home to a team of around 3,000 engineers, has been purchased from 100 per cent renewable sources. The majority of the electricity, supplied by GDF, is sourced from a combination of hydro, wind and waste generation, and replaces energy from traditional sources that would have produced an estimated 35,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions annually.
Similarly in Germany, Ford is sourcing renewable electricity to cover the power demands of its sites in Cologne. This includes the electricity needed for the production facilities at the Niehl Plant, the Technical Centre in Merkenich, and Ford of Europe’s head office, also in Cologne-Niehl. This electricity comes from three hydro-power plants in Norway and Sweden.
Since January 2009 in a related development, Merkenich Technical Centre has been heated by steam provided by local utility provider, RheinEnergie, as a by-product of its co-generation power plant. The steam is fed to the Technical Centre’s boiler house via a 2.6 km long pipeline. The initiatives in Niehl and Merkenich reduce annual CO2 emissions by 190,000 tonnes.
Electricity from another source – the sun – has for many years helped to power Ford’s Bridgend engine plant in Wales with its roof-mounted solar/photovoltaic panels.
"Such developments demonstrate the substantial progress we are making and our commitment to further improving our environmental performance," said Wolfgang Schneider. "We are building on that progress and continuing to look at ways to further reducing the carbon footprint of our manufacturing and office locations across Europe parallel to the carbon footprint of our products."
In the U.S., GM has added a 1.2- megawatt (MW) solar power installation to the roof of its transmission assembly plant in White Marsh, Md., supplying about 20 percent of the plant’s power, and claims two of the largest solar power installations in the U.S. at its Rancho Cucamonga and Fontana, California parts warehouses. General Motors also claims the world’s largest rooftop solar power installation with 85,000 solar panels at its assembly plant in Figueruelas, Zaragoza, Spain.