First tangible result of “Purpose” initiative: Mercedes-Benz Cars plants to become CO2-neutral
- Mercedes-Benz Cars is driving sustainability in production.
- “From 2022, the production of our Mercedes-Benz plants in Germany will operate CO2-neutral. Thereby, we completely forego coal-based electricity and obtain our electrical energy from only renewable sources“, states Markus Schäfer, Member of the Divisional Board of Mercedes-Benz Cars, Production and Supply Chain, at the 6th Efficiency Summit of the Institute for Energy Efficiency in Production of the University of Stuttgart at the Mercedes-Benz Sindelfingen plant.
- The CO2-neutral energy supply of the plants is a first measure that is derived from the “Purpose” initiative of Mercedes-Benz Cars. The initiative aims at a long-term orientation of decisions and socially responsible action.
Stuttgart – In Germany and Europe, Mercedes-Benz Cars paves the way for green production. All German plants will be supplied with CO2-neutral energy. The preparations for exclusively green electricity for a climate-friendly production in Europe are already well advanced. “From 2022, the production of our Mercedes-Benz plants in Germany will operate CO2-neutral. Thereby, we completely forego coal-based electricity and obtain our electrical energy from only renewable sources. Today, new plants in Europe are already planned with a CO2-neutral energy supply from the start. The decision also fits with our overall strategy. As part of the electric offensive, Mercedes-Benz Cars counts on local emission-free vehicles. With a CO2-neutral energy supply of the plants, we are consistently pursuing this approach and are actively driving sustainability in production”, announced Markus Schäfer, Member of the Divisional Board of Mercedes-Benz Cars, Production and Supply Chain, at the 6th Efficiency Summit of the Institute for Energy Efficiency in Production of the University of Stuttgart at the Mercedes-Benz Sindelfingen plant.
With this decision, Mercedes-Benz Cars is creating its production even more sustainable – this is also a first tangible strategic move of the “Purpose” initiative that Daimler’s passenger car division has commited itself during the past months.
Purpose “First Move the World”
The “Purpose” initiative intensively addresses the crucial question of the company’s deeper purpose. The question is: What for does Mercedes-Benz actually exist? The invention of the car has brought mobility and individual freedom to millions of people around the world. And the great success of the car also comes with huge responsibility. How can a company constantly and sustainably live up to this responsibility?
In compact shape, the purpose statement “First Move the World” has derived from these considerations. It reflects a pioneering spirit as well as a sense of responsibility. Learn more about the purpose of Mercedes-Benz Cars on Dieter Zetsche’s LinkedIn profile: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/first-move-world-dieter-zetsche/ A first and tangible decision that is derived from “Purpose” is the switch to CO2-neutral vehicle production.
Mercedes-Benz is committed to energy-efficient production
In Germany, Mercedes-Benz Cars has eight vehicle and powertrain plants (Bremen, Rastatt, Sindelfingen, Berlin, Hamburg, Kamenz, Kölleda, Stuttgart-Untertürkheim), which either purchase electricity or operate their own power plants. In the future, 100 percent of additional purchased electricity will come from verifiable renewable sources, such as wind- and hydropower. This corresponds to about three quarters of the required electricity in the German plants. Allready exisiting high efficient gas CHP systems additionally generate local heat and power at our factorys. The thereby resulting CO2-emissions are compensated by qualified environmental projects.
New plants in Germany and Europe are planned with a CO2-neutral energy supply from the start:
- Already today, the entire electricity demand of the smart plant in Hambach (France) is obtained from renewable energy sources.
- At the location Kecskemét (Hungary) a second plant with a highly flexible and efficient production, which will be supplied CO2-neutral, is currently built.
- In Jawor (Poland), a new CO2-neutral engine plant is built. The plant will start operating in 2019.
- The “Factory 56” is currently built in the Sindelfingen plant (Germany). According to its slogan – digital, flexible, green - it will set standards within the worldwide automobile production. The production hall uses renewable energy and reduces water consumption and waste significantly. On the roof of “Factory 56” there is a photovoltaic system which supplies the shop with self-produced green electricity.
One next step to live up to this purpose is CO2-neutral production. Mercedes-Benz Cars is driving sustainability at its plants. For a long time now, the plants have been making their production environmentally friendly. The aim is an entirely sustainable value chain. This includes an optimized resource consumption through the most efficient use of energy and heat. Already today, energy efficiency is being lived and applied: All Mercedes-Benz plants in Germany are certified to ISO 50001. An energy management system for continuous reduction of energy consumption has been implemented. A variety of measures are used to sensitize the workforce in the plants. These include generally visible energy-saving tips, training courses and energy efficiency roadshows in production. Various technical measures such as the installation of energy-saving LEDs, the automatic shutdown of consumers during breaks and during non-production periods or highly efficient turbo compressors for central compressed air generation contribute to further energy saving. The measures are supported by efficient control of the electrical power supply.
This year's Energy Efficiency Summit will take place at the Mercedes-Benz Sindelfingen plant. The event will be accompanied by an exhibition with examples of sustainable and green projects in the global production organization of Mercedes-Benz Cars. In a wide variety of projects, sustainability is addressed as an integrated approach in the global production organization:
- Both the EU research project “AREUS” and the “DC-INDUSTRIE” research initiative of the Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy have their focus on the development of next generation intelligent and open energy grids for industrial production. In order to achieve the ambitious goals in terms of energy efficiency, energy flexibility and grid stability, the opportunities arising from the digitisation of energy networks must be consistently exploited. A key element of this change is the conversion of production micro-grids from an alternating current (AC) to a direct current (DC) architecture, the implementation of so-called “Industrial Smart DC Grids”.The idea: From computers, industrial drives, robots and production technologies to hall lighting - almost all electrical consumers in production already require direct current. However, production grids are powered today by alternating current which has to be converted first. In addition to lower conversion losses, direct current based grids offer further considerable potential, among other things in the own use of regenerative energy, which can be generated, for example, via photovoltaic systems on the production halls. The direct current generated from sunlight can be used directly in production or temporarily stored in industrial energy storage systems to compensate for the volatile availability of renewable energies. Just as in a hybrid or fully electric vehicle the advantages of so-called regenerative braking can be exploited in a DC-based grid: The energy can be efficiently converted back to electric energy when slowing down or stopping industrial drives or robots.
- Stationary power grids in industrial power networks: The technology development and planning sector started a pilot project to develop, standardize and test a stationary battery container for power storage. Energy storage systems from Mercedes-Benz Energy are to be used to temporarily store renewable energy, which, for example, is generated by the company's own photovoltaic systems, and integrate it into the plant's power supply as required. This ensures a reliable power supply even in fluctuating grids. Another central use-case: After the application in the vehicle (1st life), batteries from electric vehicles can be used a second time (2nd life) as stationary power storage.
About Mercedes-Benz Cars Operations
Mercedes-Benz Cars Operations is responsible for passenger car production at over 30 locations around the world. Three of them are currently being established. Within a flexible and efficient production network with around 78,000 employees it includes the central functions of production planning, TECFACTORY, logistics, and quality. Mercedes-Benz Cars produced more than 2.4 million Mercedes-Benz and smart passenger cars last year, marking the seventh record in a row. The network is based on the product architectures of front-wheel drive (compact cars) and rear-wheel drive (for example the S-Class, E-Class, and C-Class) as well as the SUV and sports car architectures. In addition, there is a powertrain production compound (engines, transmissions, axles and components). Each of these production compounds is grouped around a lead plant that serves as a center of competence for the ramp-up of new products, technology and quality assurance. Mercedes-Benz Cars is ready for the electro mobility: Around the globe electro hubs are built for the production of electric vehicles and batteries. The focus of day-to-day work is on the continuous improvement and refinement of state-of-the-art production methods, which allow future high-tech vehicles to be produced in a way that is efficient, flexible and environmentally friendly, according to the typical Mercedes-Benz quality standards. All of this revolves around the employees and their expertise, whose work is systematically supported by ergonomic workplace design and intelligent automation. In addition to its own production plants, Mercedes-Benz is increasingly leveraging partnerships and utilizing capacities at contract manufacturers as part of its growth strategy.