Ford Sustainability Report: Energy Down 12%
Its absolute energy consumption fell 9.7 percent, from 15.5 billion to 14 billion kWh.
The automaker’s efficiency initiatives last year included continued implementation of a new parts-washing system developed with ABB Robotics, and upgrades to T8 and T5H lighting under performance contracts. Ford says it invested more than $20 million in energy efficiency and related upgrades to its manufacturing base in 2012.
Since 2007, it has used a utility metering and monitoring system for plant-level electricity and natural gas data at all Ford plants in North America. It is expanding the system globally and working to obtain data down to the department level. Ford is also upgrading and aligning building management systems across its facilities.
The company has a five-year objective of improving operational energy use per vehicle by 25 percent by 2016, and improving global energy efficiency by 6.4 percent, both against a 2011 baseline. Ford says it will normalize the energy efficiency measure for weather and production levels.
The report is available online and as a PDF download, though that document will prove sluggish for many readers at a whopping 558 pages. The web-based report, on the other hand, is easy to navigate. EL readers will find content of interest in the Climate Change and the Environment section (and its special Data sub-section), the Water section (and its Data sub-section), under Ford’s Goals, Commitments and Status, and under Performance Summary.
The report is self-declared at Global Reporting Initiative level A, and a Ceres stakeholder committee – including representatives from environmental groups and socially responsible investors – reviewed Ford’s materiality analysis and report outline.
Ford’s worldwide facility CO2 emissions per vehicle fell 1 percent from 2011 to 2012, from 0.91 to 0.90 metric tons, with a 37 percent reduction since 2000. It is aiming for a 30 percent cut by 2025, from a 2010 baseline.
Absolute emissions held steady over the year at 5.1 million metric tons, which is 47 percent below 2000 levels.
In April, Ford announced that it would expand the capacity of its 3-Wet paint process by 50 percent this year, adding the system to four more plants on three continents. The process allows three layers of paint to be applied while each layer is still wet, eliminating the need for a dedicated oven and blowers. This cuts CO2 emissions by 15 to 25 percent and volatile organic compound emissions by 10 percent, compared to conventional systems, Ford says.
The company also continues to refine its paint emissions concentrator (PEC) system, which concentrates VOC emissions from the painting process and then burns them as a fuel source, reducing the amount of natural gas needed to destroy the VOCs. The PEC system has the potential to cut CO2 emissions by 70 to 80 percent compared to traditional abatement equipment, Ford says. The company is also investigating how it might reform super-concentrated VOCs into hydrogen, which can then be used in fuel cells.
US fleet fuel economy for cars and trucks combined rose 7.9 percent over the course of 2012, from 27.8 to 30 mpg, while fleet CO2 emissions fell 6.6 percent, from 318 to 297 grams per mile. Per-vehicle tailpipe emissions fell 16 percent from 2007 levels.
In the 2012 model year, Ford began selling the Focus Electric, which gets a combined 105 miles per gallon equivalent. This made it the most fuel-efficient compact vehicle in the U.S. at the time of launch, Ford said. It also introduced two plug-in hybrids, the C-MAX Energi and Fusion Energi, to customers in the US, and implemented three more engines with its EcoBoost fuel-saving technology. The company says that in 2013, it expects to produce about 1.5 million EcoBoost engines globally, about 200,000 more than originally expected.
Last year in North America, Ford offered eight models that provide 40 mpg or better – compared to 2009, when its most fuel-efficient vehicle achieved 35 mpg.
Ford cut the amount of waste it sent to landfill by 19 percent per vehicle between 2011 and 2012, as it aims for a 40 percent cut by 2016, from a 2011 baseline.
The company already reduced global per-vehicle waste to landfill by 40 percent from 2007 to 2011. Fifteen of the company’s plants have achieved zero waste to landfill.
In 2012, Ford facilities globally sent about 50.6 metric tons of waste to landfill, a reduction of 17.4 percent from 2011. Ford’s Broadmeadows Assembly Plant achieved a 35 percent decrease in waste to landfill, in part through recycling wastewater treatment plant “filter cake” and phosphate sludge. Since early 2010, the company has recycled 710 tons of recovered paint solids from the Ford Flat Rock Assembly Plant in Flat Rock, Michigan, the Ford Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, Michigan, and the Chicago Assembly Plant in Chicago, Illinois, producing about 710,000 KWh of energy.
But the company says it has chosen to target the elimination of hazardous-waste-to-landfill first, because this provides the quickest and most cost-effective benefits to human health and the environment. Last year the company cut hazardous waste on a per-vehicle basis by 2.6 percent from 2011 and by 19.6 percent from 2007. It generated about 42,000 metric tons of hazardous waste, which Ford says is comparable to its 2011 levels.
As announced in March, Ford’s global relative water use fell 8.5 percent between 2011 and 2012, from 4.7 to 4.3 cubic meters per vehicle produced, putting the company more than halfway toward its goal of using an average of 4 cubic meters per vehicle globally by 2015. That target represents a 30 percent cut versus a 2009 baseline.
Ford says that for 2013, it is targeting a 2 percent reduction.
On an absolute basis, Ford cut its water use 7 percent, from 25.7 million cubic meters in 2011 to 23.9 million in 2012. Based on regional water cost estimates, this yielded more than $3 million in cost savings. Ford cut global water use by 62 percent between 2000 and 2012 – equal to 10.6 billion gallons.
This year it began tracking process water discharge at manufacturing plants around the world, making it a formal global metric for the company. In the past, some plants tracked process water discharge on an informal basis. The metric covers water that is used during the manufacturing process and then discharged from plants.
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