Avoiding emissions: Brussels shows how it’s done
Production at Audi’s Brussels site has been completely CO₂-neutral since early 2018. Renewable energies cover the processes within the production facility as well as emissions occurring elsewhere in the plant. Environmental projects compensate for a small portion (around five percent). We therefore operate the world’s first certified CO₂-neutral volume production in the premium segment.
“For us, sustainability means using all resources as sparingly as possible and enabling a true circular economy,” said plant manager Patrick Danau as he led us on a tour through the production facility.
We pass through a large gate into the brightly lit production halls. LED lamps provide ample lighting here while consuming less energy and lasting longer than conventional light bulbs. The future is being made here: “We will produce the first fully electric model sporting the Four Rings this year,” said Danau. The electricity required for production is generated entirely from renewable energy sources.
An elevator takes us to the roof of the Audi plant. An impressive scene awaits us: shiny solar cells as far as the eye can see. The largest photovoltaic system in the Brussels region generates roughly 3,000 MWh of electricity each year. This could power more than 760 four-person households for an entire year.
Back at ground level, we continue on to the car wash. Danau lifts a basket out of the sedimentation tank. Inside is a number of small polymer cubes. On their surfaces are thousands of microscopic bacteria that – as Danau puts it – eat the residues in the water. A lot of water can be saved this way.
The next stop: the paint shop. Danau motions toward the mounted nozzles. These require just one-third of the pressure to apply the sealant to the bodies. “This reduces overspray and a thinner coat of PVC sealant can be applied. We save more than two kilograms of material per car,” he said. Audi Brussels also minimizes heavy metal emissions. A two-stage neutralization process has been used for this since 2016.
“Even our bees feel at home here.” Back outside in the fresh air, Patrick Danau points to a wooden box. The bee hotel offers the threatened insects a safe home. Two colonies have already moved in.
With the help of cutting-edge technology, Audi’s Brussels plant is making an elemental contribution to environmentally friendly production and a strong statement against waste. Here is an overview of the production facility’s numerous measures and projects: