Friday, December 30, 2011

Ford has plan for cutting water use

Ford Motor Co. is entering 2012 with plans to reduce substantially the amount of water used to make vehicles. The new goal calls for Ford to cut the amount of water used to make each vehicle 30 percent globally by 2015, compared with the amount of water used per vehicle in 2009. Ford is also developing year-over-year efficiency targets as part of its annual environmental business planning process and has established a cross-functional team spanning several divisions to review water usage more holistically.
"Water remains one of our top environmental priorities and our aggressive reduction target helps ensure continued focus on this critical resource," said Sue Cischke, group vice president, Sustainability, Environment and Safety Engineering.
If Ford meets its goal of reducing the amount of water used by 30 percent between 2009 and 2015, the amount of water used to make a vehicle will have dropped from 9.5 cubic meters in 2000 to approximately 3.5 cubic meters in 2015. One cubic meter is equal to 264.2 gallons of water.
The water challenge is particularly acute in places such as Mexico, China and India where Ford has or is developing extensive operations.
Drought and extensive population growth are just two of many challenges in places such as Mexico's Sonoran Desert, home to Ford's Hermosillo Stamping and Assembly Plant where  Ford Fusion, Fusion Hybrid and Lincoln MKZ are built. Production at Hermosillo Stamping and Assembly Plant doubled between 2000 and 2010. However, water usage at the plant dropped during the same period by 40 percent."We applied innovative technology to our Hermosillo plant to reduce water consumption, minimize impact on the community and build vehicles in a more sustainable manner," said Larry Merritt, manager, Environmental Quality Office. To reduce water use in Hermosillo, a membrane biological reactor - a biological water treatment system - was installed. The complex system is able to make up to 65 percent of the plant's wastewater suitable for high-quality reuse elsewhere in the facility or for irrigation. The water treatment system also is being used at Ford plants in Chennai, India and Chongqing, China.
Another approach is to cut the amount of water necessary to complete a task - a strategy afforded by the use of advanced technologies and processes. "As we invest in new and existing facilities globally, our water strategy prioritizes sustainable manufacturing technologies," said John Fleming, executive vice president, Global Manufacturing and Labor Affairs. "This disciplined approach allows us to make significant progress in water reduction and other environmental efforts over time." By Joseph Szczesny


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