Volkswagen Group, in its effort to employ more sustainable practices at its manufacturing plants the world over, initiated the 'Think Blue. Factory.' programme. Under this programme, five key areas of impact on the environment are measured - energy consumption, CO2 emissions, water consumption, waste generation and solvent emissions. Overall, VW aims at achieving a reduction of 45% by 2025. Within this programme, Volkswagen India has recorded substantial results in its efforts to reduce the impact on the environment due to manufacturing processes at its Pune Plant.
Specific results (reduction per car produced) at the Volkswagen Pune Plant by the end of 2017 as compared to the base values from 2011 are - Energy consumption reduced by 30.8%; CO2 emissions reduced by 31.7%; Water consumption reduced by 46.9%; Waste generation reduced by 39.4% and Solvent emissions reduced by 6.8%.
“At Volkswagen, we not only believe in manufacturing great cars but also focus on how we manufacture them. Our aim is to produce cars in the most environment-friendly way,” Andreas Lauermann, President and Managing Director, Volkswagen India Private Limited said.
“Our teams at the plant have been working relentlessly over the past six years since we adopted this strategy and have delivered excellent results. We will continue our endeavour in this direction in the coming years too and hope to achieve the final goals long before 2025.”
Volkswagen applied several eco-friendly processes at its manufacturing facilities and offices. One of the major projects under the ‘Think Blue. Factory.’ programme at the Volkswagen Pune Plant that yielded sizeable results last year is where heat is recovered from exhaust gases from the primer oven in Paint Shop. The energy from these gases is used to heat ambient air supplied to air supply unit in the paint booth.
Other measures adopted at the Volkswagen Pune Plant in 2017 include optimisation of lighting consumption in the Paint Shop, replacing tube lights with low consumption LED lights, replacing old equipment with low-consumption modern equipment and adopting energy-efficient production processes.
Some of the other measures include a Biogas Plant for food waste generated in the canteens, Single Stage Base Coat Application during painting process for reducing solvent emissions, installation of High Volume Low Speed fans and optimisation of electrical equipment operations for lower energy consumption, replacement of water faucets with more efficient ones and reuse of wastewater in the production processes to reduce plant’s water consumption and several more similar projects.
Volkswagen has also established a global knowledge-sharing platform wherein each of its plants shares its best practices for other plants to adopt. Furthermore, Volkswagen Pune Plant has lined up projects for 2018 to make its plant even more efficient in terms of effects on the environment. Several ideas are under evaluation for implementation all the way till 2025 which will eventually help the company in achieving the ultimate goal of 45% reduction.