The Wolfsburg plant manufactures the Golf model as well as the Touran family-sized car and the Tiguan. Just under 48,000 persons work in an area of 13 square kilometres at the Volkswagen AG headquarters. In 1998, the plant's environmental management system was validated for the first time in accordance with the EU Eco-Audit.
Identifying and implementating potentials for saving
The Wolfsburg site uses a series of energy-saving measures. Special focus is placed on industrial power consumption. This consumption makes up two-thirds of the electric drive processes. For this reason, when planning plant facilities Volkswagen places particular emphasis on using electric motors whose efficiency corresponds to that of what is now the top efficiency class: EFF1. Optimisation of the biological sewage facility at the plant is a good example. By using a different process, one of the six ventilator drives could be removed from uninterrupted operation. The remaining connected load of the ventilators, 225 KW, is adjusted to the operating conditions by means of an automatic oxygen regulator. Energy savings for the motors are around 5.3 MWh per year, which means a reduction in emissions of about 4.8 tonnes of CO2.
Flood protection measures
In view of the tremendous water requirement of 30.5 million cubic metres per year, the water management concept is directed towards reuse, savings and differentiated circulation systems. For this reason, the plant's reserve water storage reservoir is used not only for storage prior to reuse but also for flood protection as well; it is a component of a wide-ranging network of storage reservoirs in the city of Wolfsburg. Rain water falling at the Wolfsburg plant is collected in this reservoir and kept ready for use. Surplus quantities are delivered to the river Aller, which serves here as a receiving water course. The heavy rainfall in July 2002 pushed the plant's water storage reservoir to the limit of its capacity. In order to be prepared for such events in the future, the site in Lower Saxony has adopted measures based on a hydrological appraisal. These measures include new development of a discharge unit to the Aller with a combined emergency overfall.
Think Blue.Factory success story
To run the systems in the paintshop, technical heat is required — not least when it comes to preserving body cavities. Up until October 2012, this hot water came from the southern power plant by means of pumps, reaching halls 9 and 26 via long pipes. Today, the boiler houses supply the water directly to the halls at a temperature of 130 or 160 degrees Celsius. Having the boiler on site, fuelled by natural gas, prevents vast quantities of heat being lost en route to the halls. The pipes and pumps that had been in use for years have now been taken out of operation. Rolf Müller from Volkswagen Kraftwerk GmbH explains: "Restructuring the pipework and pumps would have reduced the amount of heat lost, but would not have completely prevented this energy from going to waste." Müller is just one of the people behind the idea. His colleague, Julian Vogel, goes on to say: "By constructing the boiler houses, some 18,396 megawatt hours of long-distance heating are now being saved each year, with around 35% fewer CO2 emissions being released into the environment."
Compared with the previous process used at the plant, the boiler house project is generating cost savings to the tune of 20%. "Add to that the 4205 megawatt hours of power that are no longer needed to pump the water to the halls", Falko Britze continues. It was Britze's subdepartment, Supply Engineering Planning, that devised and implemented the project together with the Volkswagen Power Plant. The project took one year to complete. A real success story for the "Think Blue.Factory." programme.