As a part of its “Mission Zero Environment Program”, Audi is planning to keep its water consumption to a minimum.
It will also stop using scarce drinking water in its production lines.
Efficient processes closed water cycles and use of rainwater are envisaged for achieving this aim.
Drinking water is a scarce resource. More than 2.2 billion people across the world not having access to clean water per the United Nations. And the demand for water is expected to increase by 55% by 2050.
Water is essential in Automobile Manufacturing especially in the paint shop and for leakage tests.
Peter Kössler, Board Member for Production and Logistics, says: “We aim to drastically reduce our freshwater consumption and cut the water consumption per produced vehicle in half by 2035. Where possible, we are already using recycled water that has been used multiple times in the cycle and treated. Our vision is to have closed water cycles at all our production sites.”
Audi has a defined site-specific water value to put a constraint on water withdrawal in relation to availability at each of its regional sites. This way it is working to reduce the ecologically weighted water consumption in production to 1.75 cubic meters per car, by 2035, from the present 3.705 cubic meters per car produced.
In this regard, Audi Mexico is already a pioneer with it being the first plant site worldwide that produces cars without any wastewater. And has been doing so since 2018. This is achieved by a biological treatment facility backed by downstream ultrafiltration and reverse osmosis system. The wastewater is purified and large quantities are fed back into the plant’s water cycle.
Audi is working at establishing a closed water cycle at its plant in Neckarslaum site and the Unteres Sulmtal wastewater association. A pilot facility is being set up, the water will be tested every two weeks. If all goes as per plan, the construction of a new water facility will be taken up in 2022.
And in its Ingolstadt site, a new water service center has been in use since 2019.
Roughly half of the wastewater generated is reused, after filtration.
Audi is saving up to 30,000 cubic meters of freshwater per year, due to this.
Audi is also using rainwater to meet its water demand. The Audi Mexico site has a rainwater harvesting reservoir with a capacity of 240000 cu meters. This option will only be increasingly used across sites, all over the world.