In Germany, all Mercedes-Benz 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.—Markus Schäfer, Member of the Divisional Board of Mercedes-Benz Cars, Production and Supply Chain
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% 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. Already existing highly efficient gas CHP systems additionally generate local heat and power at the factories. Any resulting CO2-emissions are offset by qualified environmental projects.
New plants in Germany and Europe are planned with a CO2-neutral energy supply from the start:
Already, the entire electricity demand of the smart plant in Hambach (France) is obtained from renewable energy sources.
In Kecskemét (Hungary), a second plant under construction will be CO2-neutral.
In Jawor (Poland), a new CO2-neutral engine plant is being 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.
Mercedes-Benz Cars is pushing for sustainability at its plants, with the ultimate aim being an entirely sustainable value chain. This includes optimized resource consumption through the most efficient use of energy and heat. Already today 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 power 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 goals for energy efficiency, energy flexibility and grid stability, the opportunities arising from the digitization 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—“Industrial Smart DC Grids”. Almost all electrical consumers in production—computers, industrial drives, robots and production technologies, hall lighting and so on—already require direct current. However, today’s production grids are powered by alternating current—which has to be converted. 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 to 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.