How Will Sustainable Practices Permeate the Industry?Fri, 09/01/2017 - 22:40
Sustainability has transformed the industry. Beyond the arrival of electric vehicles, companies are now looking for the best way to reduce their environmental footprint regardless of their line of business. New materials are being used, efficiency measures are being adopted and even alternative power-generation solutions are making their way into the industry. The automotive industry is a high energy and water-consuming sector. Yet, for some companies Mexico has become a standard for clean energy for manufacturing operations.
Currently, there is a dependency in the industry on crude oil and raw materials are immediately affected once oil prices go up. It is our intention to push boundaries and that means getting rid of any preconceptions we may have regarding what we can or cannot do with cars. If you ask anyone on the street if it is possible to fly a plane without any fuel, they will say no. Similarly, if you ask them if it is possible to power a car only with photovoltaic cells, they will say no. We cannot know for sure when change will come but we are certain it is possible. We want to support development and prove that any of these ideas are possible, as long as we do not limit ourselves and we commit to a sustainable operation.
Our sustainability efforts will impact our plants in Orizaba and Tlaxcala. We plan to build a water-treatment facility in Orizaba. Dyeing thread requires high water consumption and even though we comply with specifications from the Mexican government, Coats has its own water consumption standards. These may be stricter but we want to comply with them. The project will demand a multimillion-dollar investment but in the end we will be able to provide clean water to the Veracruz community. Our project in Tlaxcala will be electricity oriented. Threading is a power- heavy process, which is why we are negotiating with a wind-power generator. The plan is to create a joint-venture that will allow us to source green energy. Modernization is a slow process that can take many months and even years but we hope to reduce our energy consumption and be connected to green energy generation by 2018.
All companies within the Techint Group were involved in the design and development of the Pesqueria Power Central in Nuevo Leon. The plant is operated by Techgen and provides energy to TenarisTamsa and Ternium facilities in Mexico. It was an extremely challenging project due to the advanced technology it involved. This combined cycle energy plant makes optimal use of the natural gas by introducing a second stage that uses a state-of-the-art GE steam turbine, making it far more environmentally friendly. This plant consumes 35 percent less fuel and one-third of the water of a traditional plant. The whole facility produces zero wastewater because it uses water that comes from the Nuevo Leon water treatment plant. The buildings were conceived following a green concept, allowing us to obtain a LEED Certification (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design).
We already have a substation and we are analyzing the possibility of implementing energy generation solutions with a cogeneration project. An energy company has already approached us to collaborate in this initiative but we must analyze the potential demand for this service to determine if now is the right time to get involved in an energy-generation project and evaluate to seek the most benefits to our clients. We are firm believers that companies should focus on their core business. We see this as a potential business opportunity and we would eventually like to find a partner to help us run this project.
Our 'Think Blue. Factory.' strategy promotes positive actions for environmental protection, establishing an objective to reduce energy consumption 25 percent by 2018 compared to energy indicators in 2010. By September 2016, we reached a 37 percent reduction, reflecting the significance Volkswagen attaches to this goal. We achieved reductions in consumption of electricity, natural gas, water and both CO2 and Volatile Organic Compound emissions. This is visible in our processes and awareness of the issue among our partners. In 2017, we will consolidate our efforts to ensure we achieve the desired results with some planned measures that will optimize energy consumption.
Sustainability is included in different aspects of Nissan’s global business plan called 'Nissan Power 88.' Nissan Mexicana owns three manufacturing plants in Mexico: two in Aguascalientes, one in Morelos and we will soon open our new COMPAS plant in Aguascalientes as well. Our Aguascalientes A1 plant sources 68 percent of its energy from renewable sources but considering our total consumption, renewables represent between 30 and 32 percent. Since we started using renewable energies in 2013, we have manufactured more than 700,000 vehicles using wind energy. That means that of all Nissan’s subsidiaries, we are the one that has manufactured the most vehicles with lower CO2 emissions. Biogas represents 4.1 percent of the energy consumption at our Aguascalientes A1 plant, the largest biogas usage in any of Nissan’s plants globally.
In 2012, we launched an ambitious project to develop electric vehicles to suit the needs of a company like ours. We are implementing this through Moldex, a subsidiary of Grupo Bimbo. In the first phase of this project, we hired young Mexican talent to transform existent vehicles into electric models. They later analyzed the possibility of opening a small electric-vehicle manufacturing line, which we opened in 2013. With this initiative in place, we inaugurated our first Ecological Distribution Center in 2013, located in the historic center of Mexico City with 73 electric vehicles. Nowadays, we have four Ecological Distribution Center and over 320 electric vehicles on the streets. In 2015, we launched a new vehicle with a load capacity of 1 ton and 100km autonomy and in 2016 we made it available for purchasing to other companies that transport goods.