Factories and power plants are two of the major contributors to pollution. Despite their necessity for production of much-needed goods, we can’t deny their emission of high levels of pollutants. Power plants are also huge consumers of non-renewable natural resources like coal, used to power their vast furnaces and machinery.
This dependence on our earth’s natural resources, particularly those that cannot be renewed, is currently posing grave questions. How do we sustain ourselves unless we find alternative means of generating energy? And what contributions can factories themselves make to ensure that the manufacturing machinery continues without exhausting the earth’s supply of energy-giving fuel materials?
Some power plants have taken the initiative to answer some of these questions. Automobile giant, Ford, has so far reduced its carbon dioxide emissions by half and has utilized renewable energy to sustain 3% of its operations worldwide since the year 2000. The Genk Assembly Plant in Belgium, since 2009, has been using two wind turbines to meet its energy requirements. Below is a list of 5 plants that use green energy to power their businesses.
1. Volkswagen auto assembly plant powered by landfill gas
Landfills are a huge problem worldwide, emitting massive amounts of methane. Though not toxic, methane is highly flammable and can cause explosions when it comes into contact with air. German automobile manufacturer, Volkswagen, has sought to make use of this gas to power his assembly plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The harnessed gas will be able to generate 2 MW of power every day. This plan will not only meet the company’s energy needs but will also be a public service of sorts by reducing the possibility of accidental explosions due to the emission of methane gas.
2. Ford’s UK’s Diesel Assembly Plant
Ford has joined the green brigade by using the wind to generate electricity. Installed at the Dagenham Diesel Engine Assembly in the UK, the third wind turbine combined with the previous two will be able to generate as much as 11.2 million Kwh of power per annum. Prior to the setting up of the third turbine, the first two were able to generate 5.92 Kwh of power, enough to light up 1,794 homes. And it is expected that with the installation of the third turbine, the Dagenham Assembly line will be able to run on wind energy alone.
3. New BMW Plant
BMW has decided to take the help of water to fuel its new plant in Washington. The plant will manufacture carbon fibers for the automobile company using cheap and renewable hydropower which may save millions in costs. Carbon fibers need a very large amount of electricity to be produced and this venture will be able to solve BMW’s energy needs. Incidentally, the same plant will soon come up with a lightweight electric car which will allow it to travel farther between charges.
4. Wixom Ford Plant
Ford has again taken the green step by leasing out one of its 14 closed assembly plants in Wixom, Michigan, to two green companies – Clairvoyant Energy and Xtreme Power. While the closing down of any plant spells big money loss to any company, Ford’s decision is a good one. Not only will the huge space be utilized but it will be done so by the partnership of the two companies that produce solar panels and store solar and wind power till they’re ready to be used. Xtreme Power is currently working on projects that will be able to support around 10,000 MW of renewable energy.
5. GM’s Lansing Delta Township Assembly Plant
General Motor’s Lansing Delta Township Assembly Plant has become the first automobile company in the world to receive a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification by the US Green Building Council. The company is hoping to save more than 40 millions of water and 30 million KwH of power. This initiative is a huge one which is precisely why the company has earned the distinguished certification. Aware of the automobile industry’s impact on pollution and energy supply, GM has constantly striven to reduce its impact on the environment.
Such decisions and initiatives by plants to go green will go a long way in helping ensure that our energy sources aren’t depleted very soon. They also pave the way for other plants to do the same with better returns as the use of renewable energy resources are much cheaper than conventional ones.