In all of its work areas, Audi places great value on protecting the environment, maximizing efficiency and conserving natural resources. This is one way in which Audi is meeting customer expectations and societal changes worldwide.
In its vehicle production, the Ingolstadt plant is well on its way towards becoming a CO2-neutral production site – a scenario in which the electrical and thermal energy that is used comes exclusively from renewable sources. Today, at its main facilities in Ingolstadt, Audi already covers its electrical needs with green electricity from German and Austrian hydroelectric plants, which avoids up to 290,000 metric tons of CO2 annually. The overall efficiency of the factory’s internal combined cooling, heat and power (CCHP) plant is extremely high at a value approaching 80 percent; natural gas boilers cover a portion of the remaining heat requirements.
Another energy source is district heating. Since 2004, the Ingolstadt site has been supplied with waste heat from the municipal waste incineration plant. In 2012, the next extension stage of the heating network went into operation; it obtained its waste heat from a nearby refinery. Overall, Audi utilizes at least 120,000 MWh of energy from waste heat annually; another extension stage is planned to produce a total of 200,000 MWh. The Audi plants in Neckarsulm and Győr are also supplied by district heating; in Hungary, a cogeneration plant, gas boiler and low-emissions gas engines are used.
Audi is also driving progress in the area of photovoltaics. Systems have been installed on several production hall roofs in Ingolstadt and Neckarsulm; they encompass a total surface area of 50,000 m2 (538,196 sq ft). Lamborghini also operates a solar power plant in Sant’Agata Bolognese.
Audi is planning additional new systems. In 2014, what is referred to as a membrane bioreactor will go into operation; it further improves water-conserving processes. Rain water is captured and used in grand style. In vehicle washing facilities at the plants in Brussels and Ingolstadt, there are special water treatment tanks in which bacteria purify the water of contaminants.
Another focus of environmental activities at Audi is to reduce energy consumption in manufacturing. For several years now, total energy consumption within the Audi Group has remained stable despite sharp increases in production volume. By the year 2020, Audi wants to reduce its company’s specific CO2 emissions – the amount of carbon dioxide that is generated for each automobile produced – by 30 percent compared to the year 1990. This target has already been achieved in Ingolstadt and Neckarsulm, and the company wants to reduce emissions by another 40 percent at these two production sites between 2010 and 2020.
There is great potential for increasing energy efficiency in manufacturing systems. New technologies – such as electric motor driven welding electrode holders, electrically driven presses and lightweight tools – are as important to the overall energy balance as recovery systems that recover electricity. A prime example of these high-tech manufacturing solutions is the new N 60 factory hall in Ingolstadt, which houses body manufacturing for the A3 and the A3 Sportback.
The new data center in Ingolstadt, which began operations last year, utilizes such energy-efficient technologies as outdoor air cooling – in the cold months of the year it controls the center’s temperatures with outside air. Heat is recovered by several hundred heat wheels that are installed throughout the plant.
Today, there is practically no waste material to remove at the Ingolstadt production site – nearly 95 percent of it is recovered. The metal recycling loop is even fully closed; the small amount of metal cutout material remaining from stamping press operations is pressed into cubes and returned to the metal producer where it is melted. The new presses at the Győr plant even use the cutout scraps of the metal blank to produce fuel doors. In addition, many auxiliary components such as starters and alternators are reconditioned at the Ingolstadt plant.
Audi places great value on efficiency and conserving resources in logistics as well. Over 60 percent of all cars produced by the brand with the four rings are transported to their destinations on freight trains; the trains over train routes from Ingolstadt and Neckarsulm to Emden, the port of loading on the North Sea coast, are powered by green electricity. Many large car components travel by rail within the Volkswagen Group; this includes high-volume freight traffic between the Ingolstadt and Győr production sites. In 2012, AUDI AG received a sustainability award for logistics, an international award presented by the Austrian Society for Logistics (BVL-A) and the German Society for Logistics (BVL-D).
The Company’s commitment is also evident in the actions of the Audi Stiftung für Umwelt (Environmental Foundation), which was founded with five million euros charter capital. Its goal is to promote protection of nature and the environment as well as forest management. Its primary areas of support are the protection of natural habitat for humans, animals and plants, scientific studies that contribute towards a sustainable human-environment system, the development of environmentally compatible technologies, and campaigns and activities for environmental education.
One of the first projects supported by the foundation is a long-term scientific study for the international Oak Forest research project. In this long-term project, over 90,000 trees have already been planted in test areas near Audi production sites in Ingolstadt, Neckarsulm, Győr, Sant’Agata and Brussels. In the context of changing climate conditions, scientists are seeking knowledge about optimal conditions for tree growth – including the aspects of CO2-binding potential and biological diversity in the forest.
Audi is involved in the “Umweltpakt Bayern IV” (“Bavarian Environmental Pact IV”) project, which seeks environmentally compatible economic growth. Informational exchange with suppliers is given especially high priority. Their increasing interest in utilizing environmental protection instruments supports Audi’s positive impact on indirect environmental aspects.
At its production sites in Germany and in foreign countries, the Audi Group is considered a frontrunner in environmental protection. In Neckarsulm (1995), Ingolstadt (1997), Győr (1999), Brussels (2002) and Sant’Agata Bolognese (2009), Audi has installed and is continually optimizing the EMAS (Eco-Management and Audit Scheme) environmental management system of the European Union, which goes beyond standard requirements.
Today, the Ingolstadt, Neckarsulm, Győr, Brussels and Sant’Agata Bolognese production sites already conform to the new DIN EN ISO 50001 standard which places exceptionally stringent requirements on reducing energy consumption. Other production sites within the Audi Group network also fulfill the requirements of an environmental management system: Production sites in Bratislava (Slovakia), Martorell (Spain), Aurangabad (India) and Changchun (China) are certified to the globally recognized DIN EN ISO 14001 standard.
The environmental declarations reflect the continuous development of location-based environmental protection within the scope of Audi environmental management. Their contents are concerned above all with waste management, pollution control, water conservation, energy and environment programmes.
The Audi Environment Magazine 2012