- In the past seven years, SEAT has reduced its environmental footprint by 35.5%. With World Environment Day fast approaching, the company is stepping up its commitment to implementing measures and projects to maximise resources and minimise emissions in all of its processes. For this purpose, around six million euros was invested in sustainability projects in 2017.
The company is carrying out projects framed within the Ecomotive Factory initiative, a part of SEAT’s PQT strategy (Production, Quality and Team), which was designed to improve productivity and quality at the Martorell, Barcelona and SEAT Componentes facilities and address the future challenges of the automotive sector, With this goal, SEAT aimed to reduce its environmental impact by 25% during the 2011-2018 period. This goal was achieved a full two years in advance, and now the carmaker’s objective is a 50% reduction by the year 2025.
Compared with the sector average in Europe, SEAT consumes approximately half as much energy to produce a vehicle, 23% less water and emits 65% less CO2. One of the largest environmental initiatives is SEAT al Sol, the biggest solar plant in the automotive industry in Europe and, with a total of 53,000 panels, one of the largest in the world. It covers an area of 276,000 m2, the equivalent of 40 football fields, and generates more than 17 million kWh annually.
Among the most recent projects is an installation to recover the energy emitted by the drying ovens or a pavement that reduces pollution by 40%.
More efficient chimneys
SEAT is going to achieve a savings of 11.7 GWh per year in its consumption of gas for heating water thanks to a new installation aimed at recovering the energy emitted by the bodywork drying ovens in one of the workshops. The hot air rising up the chimneys heats a water circuit, which is later used in the car body paint processes.
This is how a large proportion of the energy gets reused, and it does away with the need to heat water. Furthermore, this initiative prevents the emission of 2,400 tonnes of CO2 every year.
With the goal of improving the air quality in the Martorell plant, SEAT has begun to install photocatalytic pavement.
The pavement is made with cement slabs applied with titanium dioxide. The curious property of this element is that when it comes into contact with pollutants, light and oxygen at the same time, it triggers a chemical reaction that decomposes the pollutants in the air (NOx), turning them into nitrates that dissolve with water. So, it decontaminates, cleans itself and has a bactericidal effect.
In a first phase it is being implemented in the SEAT Technical Centre. The 4,000 square metres of photocatalytic pavement required reduce pollution by 40%. These anti-pollution slabs will later be laid on the 26,000 square metres of walkways within the entire business complex (which points to a potential reduction of 5.2 tonnes of nitrogen oxide per year). Moreover, the company is studying the application of paints featuring the same decontamination properties on the 147,000 square metres of exterior walls on the workshops.
SEAT has promoted the creation of a botanical garden in Martorell’s Can Casas park, consisting in planting 80 trees of different native species, as well as a space for the protection of the Hyla Meridionalis frog. The project includes the possibility of identifying this specific flora and fauna in the park by means of a QR code.
Another potentially prominent initiative is the pilot project implemented at SEAT Componentes. The environmental challenge brought by domestic cooking oil has led the company to launch the Claki project. Used cooking oil contaminates the water cycle, so in order to help the environment, employees have received a container to collect their used oil at home and take it to work, where they pour it into a vat and receive a clean one to take home again. This involves a process of emptying the vat, transporting the containers, handling, washing and returning them. In this way a project is created that is educational as well as environmental, which also generates employment.