Annual Report

Environmentally friendly production processes

In view of the climate debate and the increasing scarcity of raw materials, Volkswagen uses not only environmentally compatible products but also fuel-efficient and environmentally friendly production processes. We improved our key environmental indicators in production once again in the reporting period. An overview is provided in the charts below. We collect and validate the environmental data for the Group’s manufacturing locations in line with an internal standard and a process standard before approving it. Annual updates to the environmental data enable us to identify the Group’s environmental pollution trends. The data captured includes 65 corporate locations.

The latest developments in paintshop technology are helping to protect the environment and reduce costs at the same time. After six years of researching and testing, the first catalytic units were installed in the paintshop in Wolfsburg at the beginning of 2010. Catalysts constructed using the bypass principle clean the exhaust air from the paint dryers, thus enhancing the exhaust gas treatment. This enables us to reduce our emissions to well below the legal limits and additionally cut our consumption of natural gas by 40%. By decoupling the dryer heating from the exhaust air treatment, temperature equilibrium was created for the thermal afterburner (heat generator) and the body dryer (heat consumer). This reduced the reaction temperatures by around 200°C for each system, generating savings of approximately €1.0 million for the Wolfsburg site and lowering its carbon emissions by around 10,000 tons per year. We are already looking into or preparing the conversion of further locations.

Going forward, the Volkswagen Group intends to continue its pioneering role in the field of sustainable mobility using innovative, environmentally friendly technologies. This explains our involvement in a research project for the recycling of lithium-ion batteries, a key technology in the development of hybrid and electric vehicles. There is currently no commercial process for recycling these batteries. Volkswagen and 15 partners are taking on this challenge and participating in the LithoRec research project sponsored by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Reactor Safety (BMU), which aims to develop and test efficient processes and lifecycle-spanning concepts for the institution of industrial recycling of lithium-ion batteries. The processes and concepts cover the battery’s entire journey starting with its removal from the vehicle, through transportation, collection and storage, to recycling and the production of new battery cells. The project will culminate in the construction of a pilot plant.

The world’s most powerful wind energy plant went on stream in 2010 at Volkswagen’s site in Emden. This will increase the share of energy generated from renewable sources at the Emden location and is taking the North German facility one step closer to its goal of becoming a carbon-neutral plant.

in cubic meters per year and per vehicle
Fresh water procurement and waste water in the Volkswagen Group (bar chart)
in kilograms per year and per vehicle
Direct co2 emissions by the Volkswagen Group (graphics)
CONSUMPTION OF ENERGY BY the Volkswagen Group*
in megawatt hours per year and per vehicle
Consumption of energy by the Volkswagen Group (bar chart)

* The following production facilities or companies were not included: Sitech Sitztechnik GmbH with the plant in Emden, FAW-Volkswagen Automotive Company Ltd. with a plant in Chengdu and Volkswagen Kraftwerk GmbH.

Due to external factors, it was not possible to identify all indicators for three locations as of December 31, 2010 by the print deadline for this Report. The figures for 2009 were used for these locations. The figures for two other locations contain qualified estimates of the values for December 2010.

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