Sustainability Report: Fiat Cuts Water Use 16%
Fiat, the majority shareholder in US carmaker Chrysler, cut mass-market brand plants’ water consumption per vehicle last year by 15.6 percent versus 2011 levels, and by 31.2 percent versus 2010, according to its 2012 sustainability report.
The carmaker improved water efficiency from 5.03 cubic meters per vehicle in 2010, to 4.1 in 2011, and 3.46 in 2012. On an absolute basis, it cut water use by 13.4 percent from 2011 to 2012. Water conservation projects included the capture and reuse of rainwater at the FGA Engines and Transmissions plant in Campo Largo, Brazil, which follows a similar project at the Dundee, Michigan Chrysler plant.
Fiat is aiming to cut water consumption per unit by up to 40 percent by 2014, versus a 2009 baseline. The target for its mass-market brands – including Fiat, Alpha Romeo, Lancia, Abarth and Fiat Professional – is 19 percent versus a 2010 baseline. (The company also makes luxury and performance vehicles under the Ferrari and Maserati brands, as well as components and production systems.)
The exhaustive, 291-page report complies with the Global Reporting Initiative’s maximum application level, and was externally audited and assured by SGS Italia S.p.A., earning an A+. Environmental results appear in four sections: a Highlights section at the front, a Sustainability Plan section that lists 2012 results and future targets, an Environmental Dimension section that provides narrative and examples, and a Further Details section with detailed data tables.
In 2012, the group’s wastewater had levels of chemical oxygen demand up to 93 percent below regulatory requirements, while levels of biochemical oxygen demand and total suspended solids were up to 97 percent and 96 percent below required limits, respectively. Total water discharges fell 8 percent to 17.3 million cubic meters, from 18.8 in 2011. The company installed a new wastewater treatment plant at the vehicle assembly plant in Kragujevac in Serbia, broadening its separation of wastewater streams with three parallel treatment lines.
Last year the company lowered its energy consumed per vehicle at mass-market brand plants by 16.8 percent versus 2010 and 10 percent versus 2011, to 6.10 GJ per vehicle. Fiat says it came close to beating its 2014 goal of 5.99 GJ per vehicle, despite under-utilization of plant operating capacity in places most affected by the struggling economy.
The company says it improved energy efficiency through equipment refurbishment, increases to plant operating capacity and employee awareness projects. Specifically, in 2012 it focused on optimizing systems for monitoring and measuring energy, replacing compressors with variable speed air compressors, installing inverters on filter system pumps and installing high-efficiency motors and lighting systems. It also worked on improving building heating and air-conditioning systems and cutting energy consumption while machines are in stand-by mode.
Fiat says that last year, it launched 1,800 energy projects and achieved €48 million ($62.7 million) in energy savings.
The group says it has now set a more aggressive energy consumption target for 2014 – although it’s not clear what that is. The report states an aim of cutting energy per unit at group plants worldwide by 34 percent by 2014, and for mass-market brands by 18.3 percent, versus a 2010 baseline. This appears to be the old target, as the company came close to meeting the goal in 2012. It plans this year to establish a new medium- to long-term energy plan.
Fiat last year beat its 2014 relative CO2 goal, of 0.499 tons of CO2 per vehicle produced, emitting 0.495 tons per vehicle in 2012 – an 8.5 reduction versus 2011 and 17.6 percent drop versus 2010. Again, the company says it has set a more aggressive 2014 goal, but the report appears to list only the old goal, of a 17 percent cut versus 2010 for mass-market brands, and a 33 percent cut versus 2009 baseline for the group as a whole.
Last year, the group excluding Chrysler generated 20.5 percent its of total direct and indirect energy from renewable sources, up from 19 percent in 2011. When including Chrysler Group, the figure was 9.8 percent in 2012, and 9.7 percent in 2011.
In Europe, the vast majority of renewable energy purchased by the group is RECS (Renewable Energy Certificate System) certified, while on the South American market electricity purchased is certified as coming almost entirely from hydroelectric sources. The group also has some solar power and solar thermal plants. In 2012 Fiat’s direct energy use included 72 GJ from solar thermal and 1,799 GJ from solar PV.
Turning to the company’s products, the Fiat brand had the lowest weighted average emissions of Europe’s top-selling brands in 2012, for the sixth year. In the US, Fiat increased average fuel economy for passenger cars and light duty trucks by 4 percent , and cut average CO2 emissions by 8 percent, versus the previous year. In 2013 it’s aiming for at least a 3 percent increase in CAFE fuel economy of Chrysler Group products, versus 2012. It says it has modified this target to reflect the repositioning of its product portfolio, based on market demand.
Fiat describes natural gas as the best available solution for reducing urban pollution levels and CO2 emissions. Last year the company marked the North American launch of its Ram 2500 Heavy Duty CNG, which it says is the only factory-built natural gas pickup.
Last year also saw the production launch in the US of the Fiat 500e, a zero-emission electric vehicle, which the EPA has rated at 108 mpge highway and tested as travelling about 87 miles on a charge. The group says it is “passionately focused on the development of alternative propulsion systems,” and is developing technologies for conventional hybrids, plug-in hybrids, fully electrified and range-extended electric vehicles. But it says the cost of such technologies remains a key challenge.
Last year, Fiat made 52 percent of wheel liners in the NAFTA region from post-consumer recycled materials and used 5 percent renewable resources in Dodge Dart seat cushions. This year it plans to extend renewable materials to Jeep brand vehicles and develop an eco-design tool tailored to the automotive sector, implementing the tool in 2015.
In 2012 the group recovered 72.2 percent of waste at its plants. It is aiming for 95 percent by 2014. Waste generated per vehicle at mass-market brand plants was down 0.5 percent versus 2011 and 3 percent versus 2010, to 206.2 kg per vehicle. Fiat is aiming to cut waste generation at these plants by 13 percent by 2014, versus 2010 levels.
Hazardous waste generated per vehicle at mass-market brand plants was down 15.1 percent last year versus 2011 levels, and 47.5 percent versus 2010 levels, to 3.8 kg per vehicle. The group is targeting a 28 percent reduction, versus 2010 levels, by 2014.
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