Mercury Marine received the Sustainable Process Award from the Wisconsin Sustainable Business Council (WSBC) at the Sustainable Business Awards Ceremony. The award recognized Mercury Marine for several sustainable practices in the company’s process of using aluminum for manufacturing outboard marine engine blocks.
“We’re certainly not the only manufacturer to use aluminum in building engine blocks but, as this award attests, Mercury does stand out in how we strive to be environmentally responsible and derive the maximum sustainable benefit from our use of this material,” said Scott Louks, Mercury sustainability manager.
According to Louks, who received the award at this evening's ceremony, Mercury’s sustainable process for using aluminum includes the following benefits:
- Mercury uses only recycled sources of aluminum instead of prime aluminum derived from mined bauxite ore. Discarded vehicle wheels, wiring, and scrap from Brunswick Boat Group operations, among other sources, are melted and purified for use in Mercury’s castings. “Because its atomic structure is not altered during melting, aluminum can be recycled again and again without degradation of its inherent properties,” Louks said. The exclusive use of recycled aluminum avoids the adverse environmental effects of bauxite‑ore mining for Mercury’s aluminum needs.
- The use of recycled aluminum saves energy. The energy required to melt aluminum scrap is approximately only five percent of that required to create primary aluminum from bauxite ore.
- Recycling aluminum emits only five percent of the greenhouse gas emitted in primary aluminum production.
- Mercury uses an innovative technique to use less energy in the melting of recycled aluminum. The company redirects heat exhaust generated from melting aluminum through a stack‑heating device that preheats solid aluminum scrap that is waiting its turn to be melted in the furnace. This preheating process saves Mercury 20 percent of the natural gas it would otherwise use to melt scrap aluminum. This equates to approximately nine billion BTUs of energy saved each year. For context, that's the energy represented by nearly 73,000 gallons of gasoline.
- Mercury uses patented aluminum alloys and an award‑winning die‑casting process to create engine blocks that weigh less and use less raw material without sacrificing durability and performance. The die‑casting process that Mercury uses for these engine blocks won the 2018 Casting of the Year Award in the “Over 10 Pounds” category for the sophistication of the engine block design and the execution of the die casting. Using less raw material for the casting means conserved aluminum resources.
- The lightweight design of Mercury’s engine castings also translates into a final product with superior fuel‑efficiency. Mercury’s outboard engines built on its new V6 and V8 platforms demonstrate the best fuel‑efficiency in their respective classes. Less fuel burn means less emissions, and Mercury’s outboards carry a three‑star, “ultra‑low emissions” rating from the California Air Resources Board (CARB). Consequently, Mercury’s sustainable use of aluminum results in more sustainable products that are kinder to the environment.
“We’re extremely pleased to receive this award. It takes a concerted effort from our employees to ensure that we use aluminum and other resources responsibly,” Louks said. “We make products that people use and enjoy in the great outdoors, including in the world’s most pristine environments. We are driven to make superior products in a way that protects the environment in which they are used.”