With about 163,000 employees and about 70 plants worldwide, the company’s automotive brands include Ford, Lincoln and Mercury. They are actually being silent on how much they have saved in total manufacturing emissions. The Green Living Guy says let’s find out what they have done (FYI, I got NO MONEY from Ford to do this story!!!)
While in Detroit for the North American International Auto Show courtesy of Ford (travel, not compensation) we all met with Sue Cischke, Group Vice President of Sustainability, Environment and Safety Engineering. It was during her quick but poignant presentation that i became alarmed by a certain graph. Yeah, don’t start saying I’m a loser, but it just stood out like a sore thumb. The graph indicates that they’ve cut emissions since 2003—about a 22 Trillion BTU CUT in energy use.
Based on this number I believe it’s important to show some of the examples of how they cut energy use.
Solar Energy For Electric Cars
Currently, Ford is working to install a new 500-kilowatt solar panel system at its Michigan facility. The system will help generate renewable energy for the production of Ford’s all-new Focus and Focus Electric cars. Ten new electric vehicle charging stations on the property will be used to recharge the electric trucks that transport parts between adjacent facilities.
When installation is complete next year, Michigan Assembly will also boast Michigan’s largest solar power generation system. Even the several EV charging stations that make for greener and more sustainable manufacturing.
Ford is teaming with Detroit Edison and Xtreme Power to install a 500-kilowatt solar photovoltaic panel system. Integrated with the system will be a 750-kilowatt energy storage facility. It will store 2 million watt-hours of energy using batteries. That’s enough to power 100 average Michigan homes for a year. Ford is also planning a secondary smaller solar energy system to light systems at Michigan Assembly. Combined, the systems are expected to result in projected energy cost savings of about $160,000 per year.
India Plants Even Save Energy
Both the car assembly and engine manufacturing facilities in Chennai, India have undergone a major expansion to establish Chennai as a major hub for the entire APA region. The facilities serve as the latest examples of Ford’s global manufacturing processes and have incorporated several new technologies for Ford and India. The plant is benchmarked against other competitive facilities globally as well as current volume manufacturers in the Indian market.
Nowhere is this more evident than in the body, paint shop and assembly line. Sixty six robots have been added and a new “Three-Step-Wet –Solids” paint process applies a smooth, glossy finish without oven curing between coats. A first for India, the new process is environmentally-friendly and reduces volatile organic compounds by 20 percent.
Sustainability Probably Had A Lot To Do With Emission Reductions
For example, in the seat cushions.
Ford will use soy-based foam for the cushions inside the Focus Electric. The car manufacturer already uses foam that is 6 percent soy-based in more than 20 of its vehicles.
In addition, a material called Lignotock is behind the cloth on the door. Derived from 85 percent wood fibers, this lighter application results in weight reduction. It also provides better sound-deadening benefits compared with conventional glass-reinforced thermoplastics.
“One of the more impactful things we are doing is finding a way to increase the use of recycled materials in resins. We have a strategy that specifies the use of a large quantity of post-consumer recycled material in a range of plastic applications,” said Carrie Majeske, product sustainability manager, Ford Motor Company. “Pop bottles and milk jugs eventually become part of components like underbody shields, wheel arch liners and air cleaner assemblies.”
By using more recycled content in resins, Ford can further reduce the amount of oil-based plastics in vehicles. This also cuts down on overall oil consumption. Applications of the post-consumer plastics also include carpets, roof lining and replacement bumpers.
Further Efforts To Go Green
According to Ford Motor Company, since 2008 they have sourced renewable electricity to cover the full electric power demand at its manufacturing plant in Cologne, Germany. Through this initiative, the company is reducing its CO2 emissions 190,000 tons per year. A lot but not enough.
Renewable or green power supplies ONLY 3 percent of Ford’s energy needs worldwide.
Stay tuned. Ford is about to include this foam and expand to other renewable sources for their foam. Ford is researching the use of grape seed and sunflower oil. What will they think of next? I know..a great smart idea to cut our carbon footprint.