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The path of The Green Production

It’s more than just recycling paper and turning the lights off at the end of the day; being green means looking at all aspects of a facility and creating a plan that will positively impact the environment. It’s a continuous process that is ever changing and ensures that best practices are used and shared across the globe in Ford’s manufacturing sites.

“Our manufacturing operations have integrated sustainable goals and indicators into their operations,” said Sue Cischke, group vice president, Sustainability Environment and Safety Engineering. “This effort has really become evident in the progress we’ve made on energy use and water reduction in our manufacturing operations.”

Since 2000, Ford has reduced its global operating energy use by 44 percent, carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 50 percent and water use by more than 62 percent. Renewable or green power supplies 3 percent of Ford’s energy needs worldwide. Sources for alternative energy come from hydro, solar, and wind power and landfill gas.


Dagenham Diesel Center in the United Kingdom became the world’s first automotive plant powered solely by wind. It continues to be 100 percent powered by wind-generated electricity after the addition of a third turbine earlier this year to meet increased demand.


Wind Turbine at Genk
Wind Turbine at Genk
In late 2009, Genk Assembly Plant in Belgium started using two wind turbines to offset traditional electricity demands. Each turbine can generate enough electricity to power 2,500 residential homes.


Bridgend Engine Plant in Wales has used photovoltaic – solar – panels to create energy for the plant since the late 1990s.

“Such developments demonstrate the substantial progress we are making and our commitment to further improving our environmental performance,” said Wolfgang Schneider, vice president, Governmental and Environmental Affairs, Ford of Europe. “We are building on that progress and continuing to look at ways to further reduce our carbon footprint.”

Traveling to North America, Ford’s Fumes-to-Fuel system emerges as a source to create alternative energy.

The Paint Emissions Concentrator, piloted at Dearborn Truck Plant and Michigan Assembly Plant, concentrates VOC paint emissions at a 2000-to-1 ratio, as compared to a 10-to-1 ratio with the traditional carbon wheel technology, for use as a fuel. The fuel can be used in place of natural gas in a thermal oxidizer, creating a self-sustaining system.

Fumes-to-Fuel extends the potential of the Paint Emissions Concentrator and can be used for energy generation. At the Oakville Assembly Complex in Ontario, the Fumes-to-Fuel system includes both an internal combustion engine and a 300 kW molten carbonate fuel cell. The Paint Emissions Concentrator has the potential to reduce CO2 emissions by 80 percent as compared to traditional abatement technology, and when used in conjunction with a fuel cell, the system has the potential to eliminate nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions, a major element of smog.

Michigan Assembly Plant will also install a 500 kW photovoltaic electricity system and use gas from a local landfill to offset traditional energy dependence – fossil fuel and natural gas.

With an expected 30 percent increase in vehicle production this year alone, Asia Pacific and Africa continues to reduce energy consumption. Compared to 2009, APA has reduced energy consumption by 11 percent per vehicle.

Strength in Renewable Recyclable Materials

Materials are an important element of a vehicle's life-cycle sustainability. Choices about materials can influence the safety, fuel economy and performance of the vehicle itself and can havein  implications throughout the value chain. A material can be more or less sustainable based on a number of factors, including its origin (virgin, renewable or reclaimed), the resources used and emissions produced throughout its life-cycle, and its application.

Ford has been working for many years to increase the use of recycled and renewable materials and reduce the use of undesirable materials. Vehicles in North America typically are composed of 20 to 25 percent post-consumer recycled material by weight, primarily due to the extensive use of metals with recycled content. Therefore, Ford has concentrated its efforts on developing new uses for recycled materials in the non-metallic portions of the vehicle, which are typically composed of virgin materials. While the amount of recycled content in each vehicle varies, we are continuously increasing the amount of recycled material used in each vehicle line. As described in our 2009/2010 Sustainability Report, we use tools such as Design for Sustainability, life-cycle assessment and life-cycle costing to help make beneficial materials choices.




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