Volvo Cars chooses hydroelectric power for facilities in Sweden and Belgium
GÖTEBORG -- Volvo Car Corporation today announced that the electricity used to power its facilities in Sweden and Belgium will now rely solely on hydroelectric sources. The initiative is part of the company's efforts to reach climate-neutral production status in Europe. The company's highest volume production plants are location in Torslanda, Sweden and Ghent, Belgium. Volvo Cars does not have production plants in North America.
"We aim to use renewable energy to the greatest possible extent and hydropower is the best alternative that our suppliers can offer at present," says Magnus Hellsten, Senior Vice President, Manufacturing at Volvo Cars.
A recent agreement reached with Sweden's Vattenfall and Belgium's Electrabel concerns all electricity contracted to Volvo Cars. In practical terms, the utility providers sell certificates to guarantee that all electricity delivered to Volvo Cars in Sweden and Belgium has been generated from hydroelectric plants. All told, the agreement covers about 1000 Gigawatt hours.
"This is part of our continuous drive to make our production climate-neutral, both as regards to direct and indirect climate impact," says Hellsten. "In a future scenario we will also be examining other types of energy for our production plants, such as biogas and wind-power."
Decades-long drive towards oil-free energy
Volvo Cars' has spent more than 25 years researching ways for its facilities to use energy sources other than oil. In 1982, the company took the first step by using residual heat from nearby refineries to heat its manufacturing plant in Torslanda. Six years later, the company began using natural gas, now the main fuel for heating its factories in Sweden and Belgium.
"We have made so much progress that today we are virtually independent of oil for our energy supply," says Mihkel Laks, Director, Environmental Protection, Volvo Cars. "At the moment we are working on replacing the natural gas with renewable biogas."
Systematic energy savings
A systematic focus on energy-saving measures is another important step in Volvo Cars' environmental work.
"Although the areas we heat have almost doubled in size over the years, we have nonetheless managed to maintain energy consumption at a constant level," explains Laks. "In fact, in recent years we have actually managed to cut energy usage owing to a number of successful projects and campaigns."
Laks explains that a systematic review and internal reorganization of the building housing the development and engineering departments in Torslanda resulted in energy savings of about 30 percent and improved the indoor climate conditions.
"We are now carefully checking all our facilities," says Laks. "By applying our experiences from successful projects, we can quickly achieve major improvements."
Volvo Cars of Canada Corp. is part of the Volvo Car Corporation of Göteborg, Sweden. The company provides marketing, sales, parts, service, technology and training support to the 42 Volvo automobile retailers across the country. The company's product range includes the stylish and sporty C30, the elegant C70 hardtop convertible, the compact S40 sedan, the S60 sport sedan, the S80 flagship sedan, the versatile V50 wagon and the award-winning XC90 sport utility vehicle. For 2008, the company is introducing two all-new models: the redesigned V70 wagon and the capable and comfortable XC70.
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