Ford engine plant in the U.K. is green, worthy of envy

Tags: energy management

Ford diesel engine production at its wind-powered Dagenham plant in the United Kingdom is saving thousands of tonnes of CO2 and diverting almost twice as much waste from landfill.

New figures from Ford's award-winning Dagenham Diesel Center reveal that 6,500 tonnes of CO2 a year are avoided by wind turbines installed over three years ago. Ford Dagenham's other eco-efficient processes prevented more than 12,600 tonnes of waste being sent to landfill for disposal.

The Business Commitment to the Environment group in the U.K. recently highlighted Ford's environmental plan behind Dagenham's new 1.4/1.6-liter engine line with a premier award. Ford Dagenham's eco-efficiency drive was also nominated at Business in the Community's national "Awards for Excellence 2007" gala in July.

Stuart Burn, Ford technical specialist, said: "We are delighted that our eco-efficient production at Dagenham is recognized. Not only are we minimizing Dagenham's environmental impact, we are also helping the consumer. Ford Fiesta models powered by these new 1.4- and 1.6-liter engines emit less than 120 grams of CO2 per kilometer, putting them in the £35 road tax category."

Dagenham's national eco-efficiency nomination followed regional success for the project and other wins for Ford from Business in the Community. In its East of England awards, Ford received a further six honors for its Essex-based teams – three times that of its nearest rival.

Eco-efficient Ford Dagenham
Ford Dagenham is celebrating the start of production of economical 1.4- and 1.6-liter diesel engines. The engines' machining and assembly operation was installed with the target of achieving best-in-class environmental protection.

As Dagenham's output expands toward 1 million engines a year by 2009, Ford is deploying a parallel plan to improve environmental efficiency:

  • Reduced gas and electricity consumption – resulting in 6,500 fewer tonnes of CO2
  • Waste elimination and reduction –12,620 tonnes of landfill avoided
  • “Green” vegetable oil for metal working and other fluid actions – more than 500,000 liters of mineral oil saved

Ford's eco-efficiency is delivering a positive environmental impact plus a £3.4 million annual benefit.

Energy conservation
The 1.4/1.6 assembly engine line is in Dagenham Diesel Center, Ford's only wind-powered plant in the world, which is powered by 3.6-megawatt-capacity turbines producing more than 6 million kilowatt hours of renewable electricity.

Ford Dagenham's gas and electricity bills are also down 12 percent, thanks to a strict focus on energy-intensive operations such as the generation of compressed air for handheld tools on the production line. Such high-usage equipment was scientifically optimized on Dagenham's new 1.4/1.6 line, requiring 70 percent less energy per engine vs. other manufacturing lines.

Effective waste management
The diversion of 12,620 tonnes of Ford Dagenham waste from landfill is principally divided between the recycling of dried fluids and of old concrete for the new production floor.

Metal filings and other waste from the machining process are squeezed dry of lubricants and sold on as briquettes for recycling. When Dagenham Diesel Center was being prepared for its new 1.4/1.6 line, alongside the existing 2.7/3.6 facility, 20,000 square meters of old concrete were broken, pulverized and reused for the production hall floor.

'Green' oil
Metalworking fluids and their associated waste are potentially the most damaging environmental factors associated with engine production. Fluids used during the machining of new Dagenham-built engines are now blended from vegetable rather than mineral oil.

Because vegetable oil-based lubricants are used at reduced concentrations compared with conventional fluids, coolant consumption is down from 350,000 liters in 2003 to 204,000 liters last year. Combined oil conservation at Ford Dagenham exceeds 500,000 liters per year.