VARA, Sweden – Since May, Volvo Penta’s engine plant in Vara in Sweden has been powered without using any fossil fuel whatsoever, the company reported in a recent statement. As a result, the plant is now operated carbon neutral.
The Vara Plant produces Volvo Penta’s diesel engines for leisure boats and commercial vessels.
Together with committed employees, the plant management team has been working systematically to reduce the plant’s environmental impact and energy costs, Volvo Penta explained. As part of this work, the plant has accepted the challenge AB Volvo has issued to all its plants to streamline their energy and phase out fossil fuels.
The ventilation system has been replaced, environmental training has been conducted, pneumatically powered tools have been replaced by energy-powered variants, and the lighting systems have been automated. In addition, several measures have been introduced to make the production process increasingly energy efficient, the company reported.
In 2011, a new boiler room was 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 so-called green electricity (produced using hydroelectricity) has also been signed with Swedish Vattenfall. As a result of these moves, the production process at the Vara Plant is now completely carbon neutral.
“The use of fossil fuel to power operations at the plant has been phased out and that feels really good,” says Jens Lauridsen, environmental coordinator at the Volvo Penta plant in Vara. “During the past few years, we have been focusing very heavily on measures designed to benefit the environment and this has produced results.”
The total consumption of energy at the Vara plant has been reduced by around 40 percent since 2003 and work to bring about further improvements in efficiency is continuing, Volvo Penta reported. The next step will include examining the potential for recovering heat from engine testing, according to the company.