Volvo Penta’s engine plant in Vara in Sweden is now powered without using any fossil fuel whatsoever. As a result, the plant where the company produces diesel engines for leisure boats and commercial vessels is now operated completely carbon neutral.
To make the production process increasingly energy efficient at the plant the ventilation system has been replaced, environmental training has been conducted, pneumatically powered tools have been replaced by energy-powered variants and lighting systems have been automated.
In 2011, a new boiler room has been inaugurated; the Vara Plant now uses biofuel in the form of pellets instead of the approximately 400 cubic metres of oil it previously used every year. During the spring, a three-year agreement involving deliveries of ‘green’ electricity (produced using hydroelectricity) has also been signed with Swedish Vattenfall.
“The use of fossil fuel to power operations at the plant has been phased out and that feels really good. During the past few years, we have been focusing very heavily on measures designed to benefit the environment and this has produced results,” says Jens Lauridsen, environmental co-ordinator at the Volvo Penta Plant in Vara.
The total consumption of energy at the Vara Plant has been reduced by around 40 per cent since 2003 and work to bring about further improvements in efficiency is continuing. The next step will include examining the potential for recovering heat from engine testing.