Audi gets green light on CO2-neu­tral car plant

South Canterbury Herald - - MOTORING -

The fac­tory that builds Audi’s first pure­elec­tric ve­hi­cle, the E-tron SUV, has been cer­ti­fied as CO2-neu­tral.

It’s a world-first for a high-vol­ume car plant in the pre­mium seg­ment, says the Ger­man maker.

Audi Brus­sels has been awarded a ‘‘CO2neu­tral site’’ cer­tifi­cate by the Bel­gian test­ing com­pany Vinc¸otte. The site cov­ers all pro­duc­tion pro­cesses and all other emis­sions gen­er­ated at the plant ei­ther by re­new­able en­er­gies (ap­prox­i­mately 95 per cent) or com­pen­sates for them with en­vi­ron­men­tal projects (ap­prox­i­mately five per cent).

Audi will start pro­duc­tion of its first all-elec­tric series-pro­duced model be­fore the end of this year.

‘‘Our first elec­tric car is also the first car in our core com­pe­ti­tion that is com­pletely cli­mate-neu­tral in pro­duc­tion. We avoid any waste,’’ says Peter Kossler, mem­ber of the Board of Man­age­ment for pro­duc­tion and logistics.

‘‘In ad­di­tion, we are work­ing hard to make all our fac­to­ries in the Group even more sus­tain­able. We in­tend to grad­u­ally sup­ply our plants with green elec­tric­ity. And last year, we were the first com­pany in Ger­many to make all do­mes­tic rail trans­port cli­mate-neu­tral.’’ Audi says the Bel­gian site gets its eco-cre­den­tials through three main pil­lars.

The first is chang­ing over to green elec­tric­ity. This was al­ready done at the site in 2012.

On a to­tal area of 37,000 square me­tres, the roofs of the plant build­ings also have the largest pho­to­voltaic sys­tem in the re­gion. In this way, the com­pany saves around 17,000 tons of CO2 per year, equiv­a­lent to the con­sump­tion of around 1500 peo­ple.

The sec­ond pil­lar is the sup­ply of heat at the site using re­new­able en­er­gies, also for heat­ing the of­fices. The plant cov­ers this heat re­quire­ment with cer­tifi­cates for bio­gas. Audi Brus­sels pre­vents CO2 emis­sions of up to 40,000 tons each year through re­new­able en­er­gies. Pil­lars one and two thus ac­count for more than 95 per cent of over­all en­ergy needs.

Audi Brus­sels off­sets further emis­sions that can­not cur­rently be avoided through re­new­able en­ergy sources by means of car­bon credit projects (the third pil­lar).

These in­clude, for ex­am­ple, emis­sions caused by com­pany cars. ‘‘In 2014, we were the first pre­mium man­u­fac­turer to mea­sure our CO2 foot­print and have it cer­ti­fied,’’ says Rudi­ger Reck­nagel, head of en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion for Audi.

‘‘Since then, we have been work­ing steadily to re­duce it further. We are also in­stalling new tech­nolo­gies at all our plants to re­duce water con­sump­tion, pre­vent air pol­lu­tion and im­prove re­cy­cling.’’

E-tron will be Audi’s first-ever pure-elec­tric ve­hi­cle. Set for launch this year. Brus­sels site based around three pil­lars: clean elec­tric­ity, re­new­able heat­ing and emis­sion­soff­set pro­grammes.

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