Resource scarcity, environmental pollution and climate change are among the greatest challenges we face today. The Audi Group helps manage them by manufacturing sustainable products and developing innovative drive technologies as well as starting to reduce its environmental footprint as early as the production stage.
In order to become the key factory for electric mobility within the Audi Group, we at Audi Brussels rebuilt our production facilities completely. Not a single stone was left standing. In the course of this transformation, we made another important key change: With our plant now being CO₂-neutral we have already accomplished the first step on the road to zero emission. Renewable energies now 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). Operating the world’s first certified CO₂-neutral volume production in the premium segment, makes us both a pioneer and a role model within the automotive industry.
But how are we making carbon-neutral production a reality? Plant manager Patrick Danau accompanied us on a tour of the production facility.
“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.
Step 1: Light on demand in the production halls
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. On top of that, each facility can be individually dimmed and controlled by our employees via an app. If a facility runs trouble-free, it even dims automatically. The future is being made here: “We 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.
Step 2: Energy source on the factory roofs
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. We at Audi Brussels operate the largest photovoltaic system in the greater capital region. The 37,000 square meter facility generates 3,000 kilowatt hours of electricity annually and saves about 685 metric tons of CO2. It is comparable to the size of five football fields and could power more than 765 four-person households with the amount of energy gained.
Back at ground level, we continue our tour through the paint shop. Even before the first coat of paint is applied, the vehicle body is getting cleaned. By using an innovative cascade guidance this water can be re-used. This way, we at Audi Brussels create a sustainable circulation system that reduces consumption per vehicle produced by 60%. In addition, a physico-chemical sewage treatment plant ensures a significant optimization of wastewater quality.
Step 4: Sustainable energy production behind the scenes
In the next step Danau offers us a look behind the scenes to show us the combined heat and power plant. It is directly connected to the overall energy grid and generates two megawatts of electric energy. The heat that is being leftover is used to boil water within the factory. The picture shows the specific heat spreaders.
“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.
We at Audi Brussels take our responsibility very seriously in order to be a good employer long term, to remain competitive, to delight its customers, to protect the environment and to ensure a livable future for generations to come – and because we at Audi believe that economic success and responsible action are inseparably linked.
With the following film we would like to give you a sense of how diverse and extensive environmental protection is at our plant. Here is an overview of the production facility’s numerous measures and projects: